Kevin Harper: Style of play didn’t help Hibs

Former Hibs striker Kevin Harper. Pic: Robert Perry
Former Hibs striker Kevin Harper. Pic: Robert Perry
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Former Hibs favourite Kevin Harper insists his old club had no option but to fire Terry Butcher.

The manager was sacked yesterday after overseeing the club’s relegation to the Championship, and his plight was exacerbated by a brand of direct football that was far from the fans’ liking.

“I’m not surprised he’s gone,” said Harper, a striker for Hibs in the 1990s who still considers himself a fan. “With his record in the last half of the season and obviously getting relegated, I think it’s the right decision. It just didn’t work out for him. He finished the season with just one win in about 19 games before the play-offs and any manager with that record would be worried for their job.

“Even if they’d given him more time, he’d have only been one bad result away from the fans turning again. The style of football didn’t help either. If they’d been playing attractive football, it might have helped him. But even still, it’s a results-driven business and results weren’t good enough.”

Harper hopes Hibs now turn to a young manager and insists they need to get some kind of stability in the dugout. “Ideally, I’d like it to be someone who’s been in around the club before, knows the club and knows the fans,” he said.

“It would be good if they took a chance on an up-and-coming manager like Ian Murray. There are a lot of good young managers out there, so I hope they look to build something for the future instead of continuing this cycle of getting a manager in for half a season or two seasons maximum. We’ve chopped and changed managers too many times over the last few years.”

Harper believes Hibs need to use their relegation as a chance to adopt a philosophy that encourages entertaining football.

“There’s still time to get things sorted for the new season but we’ll need to get some new recruits in who are willing to get the ball down and excite the fans again,” he said.

“The fans deserve someone who will come in and play good football. It’s going to be a tough league next season but look at how Hamilton played, they got the ball down and they got their rewards.”