After all the gloom surrounding Hibs of late, there was a genuine sense of light emerging as Alan Stubbs was unveiled at East Mains yesterday.
Sporting a healthy summer glow, the amiable Scouser was the first new Hibs manager in a long time afforded the luxury of wearing shorts for his first press gathering, on a glorious day in East Lothian. The previous three Hibs managers all arrived in October or November when all early-season optimism had vanished.
Although the carnage caused by relegation means Stubbs has arrived to find Hibs in an even worse predicament than any of his recent predecessors, crucially, he has the advantage of starting with a clean slate.
With the impressive Leeann Dempster now running the show, there is a feeling that Hibs have bottomed out and are ready to emerge from the doldrums. The sight of the new chief executive, instead of Rod Petrie, sitting alongside Stubbs at his unveiling would have been encouraging for those who feel the much-maligned chairman has not ushered in a successful manager since he brought Tony Mowbray to the club ten years ago.
There are certainly similarities to Mogga and Stubbs, in the sense that they are both youth-oriented former Celtic defenders from the north of England who landed the Hibs gig in their early 40s.
Despite this being, again like Mowbray, his first managerial job, Stubbs certainly gave the impression of being a clued-up operator who feels comfortable with the formidable task he faces.
Sure-footed and confident throughout, Stubbs also showed humility when batting away any notion that he should be credited for Ross Barkley’s meteoric rise at Everton. Displaying his jovial Liverpudlian side on occasion, he was also keen to stress that Hibs under his watch would be imbued with the same winning mentality that he showed as a player with Celtic and Everton.
Early indications are that Hibs fans should be quietly confident about what lies ahead under a man who was easy to warm to.