Axed Hibs coach Alistair Stevenson has insisted he’s left a legacy of which he can be proud after becoming one of the first casualties of new boss Pat Fenlon’s Easter Road revolution.
Stevenson and Gareth Evans were both told their services were being dispensed with as Fenlon set to work on reshaping the struggling Edinburgh club. But as they departed, the position of former manager Colin Calderwood’s assistant Billy Brown, who had been operating as caretaker boss until Fenlon’s appointment on Friday, looks safe for the meantime.
However, 42-year-old Fenlon is expected to name former Irish internationalist Liam O’Brien – his assistant at former club Bohemians – as his No. 2 although Brown’s vast knowledge of the Scottish game is likely to prove invaluable to the Irish pair.
Stevenson, formerly head youth coach at Easter Road, stepped up to become “first team development coach” earlier this year following the surprise exit of Calderwood’s then assistant Derek Adams, he and Evans having taken charge of team affairs after John Hughes’ departure, the duo overseeing a 2-1 win over Kilmarnock.
Although any switch in manager results in changes, the departure of Stevenson and Evans will come as something of a shock to the Easter Road squad, Stevenson in particular having close ties to many of the club’s homegrown talent.
Having joined Hibs from St Johnstone in 2003, Stevenson has overseen the development of many of Hibs’ young players, guiding the Under-19 side to an unprecedented League and Cup double in 2009, with current first-team players David Wotherspoon, Callum Booth, Paul Hanlon and Sean Welsh having all been part of that squad.
Stevenson said: “I’ve seen a lot of players come through and progress into the first team and I am a better person for it. I saw the Under-19s win a League and Cup double and four of them were in the first-team squad on Saturday. The current Under-19 team is still in the cup and is second in the league and I feel I have left a legacy at the club that I am proud of. Seeing top players coming through, you know you are doing your job. Seeing them get into the Scotland Under-21 team is as good as you can do as a youth coach.”
Stevenson, however, acknowledged the precariousness of working in football as he added: “Football is such that the new manager wants to do things his way and I thoroughly appreciate that and wish him and the club future success.”
Evans, who made more than 250 appearances for Hibs, returned as a coach under John Collins in 2007 and has worked for his successors Mixu Paatelainen, Hughes and Calderwood. A statement from Hibs read: “Hibernian FC today confirmed that first-team coaches Gareth Evans and Alistair Stevenson have been relieved of their duties and will leave the club with immediate effect as new manager Pat Fenlon starts to build his own coaching team.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, the board would like to record their sincere thanks for the commitment, dedication and professionalism that both Gareth and Alistair have demonstrated in their time at Hibernian, and wish them all the very best in their future careers.”