Hibs boss ‘must have youth focus’

Plans: Leann Dempster. Pic: Lisa Ferguson
Plans: Leann Dempster. Pic: Lisa Ferguson
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Hibs’ new manager will be expected to embrace the promotion of young players as Leeann Dempster makes changes to the academy structure in order to maximise its efficiency.

The new chief executive is eager to ensure that the Hibees capitalise on their impressive £5 million base at East Mains by bringing through more talented and athletic youngsters.

One of her first moves in her new role was to recruit highly-regarded George Craig as head of academy operations. Craig has been heavily involved with youth development at the SFA and, as well as taking on wider responsibilities, he will work closely with the likes of under-20s coach James McDonaugh as the club attempt to produce more homegrown talent for the first team.

In accordance with her football plan, Dempster will expect the man she chooses as Terry Butcher’s replacement to be willing to encourage the promotion of youth.

“The plan is to make changes to the academy and tie the first team and under-20s much closer together so we’d want the new manager to be interested in that,” Dempster told the Evening News.

“I think it’s a necessity in the Scottish game to blood young talent and I think Hibernian need to have that because the training facility is one of the best in Scotland.

“It is a magnificent facility and we probably need to be using it a bit differently. There’ll be a few changes in the coming weeks down there in terms of what we offer there and the approach will probably change a little.

“We don’t just want to produce good footballers. We want to make sure that as well as having the best talent we also produce great athletes.

“There are a number of different areas I’d like to focus on down there which will improve the academy and ultimately improve our ability to bring good young players through to the first team.

“These things don’t happen overnight but we’ve got a great base and there’s a great opportunity here.”

Meanwhile, Hibs are set to meet with Sam Stanton’s representatives to discuss a new deal for the highly-regarded youngster.