Alan Stubbs has promised his Hibs kids he will not lose sight of them as the expected influx of fresh faces at Easter Road got under way with the arrival of David Gray.
Stubbs has made no secret of the fact that he intends to make several signings to bolster a threadbare squad but has insisted he is determined to be patient as he seeks to bring quality rather than quantity to the club.
And that, he revealed, has offered a window of opportunity to the youngsters already at Easter Road with Neil Martynuik, Max Todd, Callum Crane, Lewis Allan and Jordan Sinclair featuring in Hibs’ first summer friendly against Vale of Leithen.
Given the lack of numbers at the moment – new head coach Stubbs started pre-season with just 14 recognised first-team players at his disposal – the kids have also been joining the senior pros in training at East Mains, giving him and his first-team coach John Doolan the chance to cast an eye over them on an extended basis.
Stubbs said: “I’ve already spoken with the younger lads as a group and told them that if they do well there will be an opportunity. I’m not bothered about age, if they are 17, 18 or whatever, there will be a pathway to the first team. If they are doing well and impressing me in training or in pre-season games then I won’t be afraid to play anyone.
“I think being involved with the first team gives them a lift but they have to grasp that opportunity. It’s a chance for them to catch my eye and that of my staff, so from their point of view I think they will be excited about what is happening.
“Not everyone is going to be able to step up, but there will always be one or two that stick out a bit more than others and you get a pleasant surprise from them.”
Meanwhile, Stubbs’ predecessor Terry Butcher has revealed he’s been put on “gardening leave” by the Easter Road club following his sacking after a calamitous second half of the season saw the Capital club relegated to the Championship.
Butcher was “relieved of his duties” a fortnight after Hibs were beaten in a play-off defeat by Hamilton and it is understood he and his assistant Maurice Malpas, who was also later shown the door, are still being paid by the club having signed three-year deals when they moved to Edinburgh from Inverness in November.
The 55-year-old insisted he had no regrets at becoming boss of Hibs but while he has been linked with the vacant New Zealand manager’s job, he admitted he’s unlikely to work again in Scotland. He said: “I’m on gardening leave, the garden is magnificent.
“I miss football to a certain degree but it’s nice to look forward to a season without having any real pressure.
“It’s nice to have a look round, go to some clubs. I’ve spoken to some lovely people within the game who have said ‘come and see us train’.”