Terry Butcher and Maurice Malpas were due to start work at Hibs today after the Easter Road board landed the dream management team that they hope can restore the club to the upper echelons of Scottish football.
The Evening News revealed in the immediate aftermath of Pat Fenlon’s departure a week past Friday that Inverness boss Butcher was their first choice to replace the Irishman as manager.
And, after a week of negotiations which awkwardly coincided with a match between the two clubs on Saturday, they finally got their man last night as it was confirmed that Hibs had thrashed out a compensation package, understood to be a six-figure sum, for Butcher and his trusty assistant Malpas.
The former England captain, who attended Saturday’s Easter Road match in a neutral capacity, was due to be unveiled to the media today as he begins the task of trying to get Hibs back into the top six for the first time since the 2009/10 season.
“Hibernian FC confirmed that compensation has been agreed with Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC,” the club announced.
“We are grateful to Inverness Caledonian Thistle for the professional and courteous way in which the discussions between the clubs have been conducted,” Hibs chairman Rod Petrie added in his club’s statement.
“We now look forward to welcoming the new management team to Easter Road Stadium.”
Inverness initially looked set to throw a spanner in the works as they offered the manager’s job to Malpas. However, the former Dundee United and Scotland defender, who has been at Butcher’s side during his best spells in management, declined the offer and will follow the 54-year-old to Edinburgh.
The Highland club have, however, warned Hibs that they won’t welcome any approach from their former boss for any of the players who have propelled them to second in the Scottish Premiership.
A statement on the Inverness website last night said: “Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC regret to announce that, despite every effort to persuade them to stay, Terry Butcher and Maurice Malpas have indicated their wish to relinquish their posts as manager and assistant manage. Compensation has been agreed with Hibernian FC.”
Caledonian Thistle chairman Kenny Cameron added: “It is a major disappointment to the club and its supporters that they have taken this decision. I’d like to put on record our appreciation of the excellent job they have done at Inverness since Caley Thistle provided them with the opportunity to join the club in January 2009. “Maurice was offered the manager’s role but declined. We would, however, like to record our sincere appreciation to him for taking the team on Saturday in what was a resounding victory [at Easter Road]. “On the field, skipper Richie Foran and the players showed great heart and character. We have a special group of players here and we intend to keep them at this club.”