HIBS assistant boss Maurice Malpas has revealed his expectations of what he and Terry Butcher can achieve have already risen, admitting he hadn’t fully appreciated the size of the Easter Road club.
And with a 20,400 capacity stadium and a £5 million state-of-the-art training centre in place alongside a support desperate for success, Malpas insisted he and Butcher are determined to put the final piece of the jigsaw in place – a winning team.
Malpas admitted it was only when he and Butcher arrived as the Capital outfit’s new management team that he began to realise the club’s full potential and the scale of the Easter Road operation.
He said: “I knew the size of Easter Road but I didn’t know the facilities within the stadium, the corporate suites and the number of them. I’d also been to the training ground before but, again, I didn’t realise how big they are.
“For me that’s the biggest thing. The facilities at East Mains are by far the best I have ever been involved in. At Dundee United we had two or three different training grounds. At Motherwell, in administration, we were training on car parks, roundabouts, anywhere with a blade of grass and at Inverness Caley Thistle we had to travel 12 or 13 miles every day to get to training.
“The facilities at Easter Road are phenomenal and I have to admit Hibs are a bigger club than I thought. I’d obviously played here before but you don’t appreciate the size of the club or the size of the following. I thought Hibs fans were just from the local area but I have been taken aback by how widely spread supporters are and the number who have come up and wish me all the best.” Malpas revealed a big selling point for Hibs as the sought to persuade Butcher to replace Pat Fenlon was having so many “pieces of the jigsaw in place.” Butcher’s right hand man told Hibs TV: “There’s one or two bits still to come and the biggest is the team doing well on the pitch.
“Everything else then comes together and it’s our job to try and make that happen. It’s a job we are looking forward and a job we believe we can achieve, it’s just a case of getting on with it.
“I think you are talking the third or fourth biggest club in Scotland. I’d never said that five or six week ago before coming here because I never realised the size of the club, the support. Our expectations, my expectations, have gone up in terms of what we can achieve.”
Meanwhile, Hibs have announced that their Scottish Cup tie against Raith Rovers on Saturday, February 8 will have a 2pm kick-off to help fans avoid the congestion expected in Edinburgh that day because of the Six Nations rugby international between Scotland and England at Murrayfield. Ticket prices for the fifth-round match will be £20 (adults) and £10 (concessions).