Owain Tudor Jones today revealed the players of both Hibs and Inverness Caley are “totally clueless” as to what is happening with Easter Road managerial target Terry Butcher.
The big Englishman is Easter Road chairman Rod Petrie’s first choice to replace Pat Fenlon following the Irishman’s departure last Friday, but, as yet, no deal has been struck to bring Butcher to the Capital. And with the two clubs due to meet at Easter Road tomorrow, Tudur Jones’ phoneline has been red hot as his former team-mates in the Highlands grill him for information while he’s been just as keen to hear what they know, the sum total of which, according to the Welsh internationalist, amounts to a big, fat nothing.
Admitting both sets of players find themselves in a somewhat surreal situation – Butcher is likely to stay away from tomorrow’s game as negotiations continue towards him becoming the latest Hibs boss – Tudur Jones insisted the intrigue will have an impact on the Easter Road clash, with the Edinburgh club battling to end a run of three successive defeats, while Inverness seek to maintain their place towards the top of the Scottish Premiership table.
He said: “When you look at the football industry nothing should surprise you but it certainly does make it a strange situation. But as players we are often the last to know, whether it’s the manager leaving or a new man being appointed.”
Tudur Jones pointed to the fact he’d conducted a round of interviews ahead of last weekend’s match against Motherwell in which he insisted the players intended to fight for Fenlon only to discover minutes later the Irishman had quit as proof of just how quickly things can change.
However, he insisted, there was nothing he and his team-mates can do other than continue to work hard in training with their job as professional football players being to win matches for the club.
He said: “We have to go about our business. If it is Terry Butcher who is going to be our next manager or whoever, they are likely to be watching tomorrow so, whoever is picked to play, has to make sure they are in the right mindset.
“If Terry Butcher is potentially going to be the manger then the Caley boys will be rolling up their sleeves and trying to prove a point to us. We have to be aware, have the right mentality going into the game and making sure we kick-start our season in terms of home form, that’s the way forward to being a successful side.
“Tomorrow is a big game, Caley are quite a few points ahead of us and it’s a great opportunity for us to try to claw them back. We are a third of the way through the season and we have to kick on.”
While Butcher’s future has yet to be ascertained, Tudur Jones was adamant that players of both clubs are completely in the dark. He said: “It’s been going both ways this week. I’ve been phoning the Caley boys and they’ve been calling me. The Caley lads are just as clueless as I am as to what’s happening.”
Meanwhile, Hibs will be without Liam Craig tomorrow after the midfielder lost his appeal against the notice of complaint from SFA compliance officer Vince Lunny charging him with “kicking or attempting to kick” Hearts goalscorer Ryan Stevenson in the face during his side’s League Cup defeat.