Dean Gibson “proud” of Hibs journey after the club confirm his departure
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Gibson has been involved with Hibs Women for the past seven years. Originally brought in by Tom Elliot, he helped run the Hibee Tots before eventually working his way up to the manager of the women’s team, taking over from Grant Scott in 2020. Within his two-and-a-half years at the helm, he guided the club to back-to-back fourth-place finishes as well as the SWPL Cup final earlier this season. Now with the manager set to take charge of his final game this Sunday, Gibson looks back on his time at the club with immense pride.
“I’ve really enjoyed the journey and I am proud of the journey,” he told Hibs TV. “The fact that I came through the whole pathway sort of like a youth player if that makes sense. I came through as a youth coach within the Girls Academy having various successes including trophies, but the main aspect was developing the players and promoting them; that successful spell then led me onto the First Team environment. I’m proud, pleased and just happy that I got the opportunity to work for this club.”
During his spell in charge, Gibson also helped oversee the women’s transition to professional status. Last year, his side was brought under the club’s umbrella as Hibs officially took control of the team. Over the course of that summer, a number of players as well as Gibson signed full-time contracts as the team moved back to Edinburgh at the start of this season, finding a new home at the Meadowbank Stadium.
Hibs also found a home at Easter Road under Gibson's reign as he oversaw the first-ever Edinburgh derby at the men’s stadium in 2021. Goals from Alexa Coyle, Rachael Boyle and Eilidh Adams made it a memorable night as they won 3-0 in front of a crowd of 5,512 – a record for the league at the time. As a Hibee through and through, Gibson looks back on this moment with great fondness however, he feels that another game tops that occasion.
“Regardless of what happened this year with the bigger crowd, the first derby was always going to be the best one,” he added. “The result just topped it off but I think we could have lost that game that night and standing there with five and a half thousand fans behind you was unbelievable. That was one of the things I was keen to do, to push boundaries and to make sure that the players were getting these opportunities and experiences and thankfully the club brought into that.
“I remember myself and Stewart Maguire had that conversation with the club saying can we play the game at Easter Road. I think Ben [Kensell] had just come in at the time and Ben [Kensell] was open to the opportunity and backed it. The club really pulled off what at that time was a historic night and it turned out to be a record attendance that night. That was brilliant but nothing will ever beat the feeling of winning at Tynecastle as a Hibs team and we went and did that as well, it was two great experiences.”
This season, Hibs have been unable to get the better of Hearts in each of the last four derbies. The first three ended in 1-1 draws while the final clash at the Oriam last week ended in a 2-1 victory for the hosts. The derby defeat came just days after Hearts confirmed their fourth-place finish and currently sit 13 points above Hibs as the Midlothian club begins to turn the tide in Edinburgh.
Now as Gibson prepares for life without Hibs, he aims to take a break from football. This was something that had been weighing on his mind since December, just after their cup final defeat to Rangers. However, Gibson will be aiming to bow out of the job on a high this Sunday as Hibs travel to Partick Thistle with the goal of getting one last win as manager of the club he loves.
“To be honest, I wanted this to come on the back of a derby win,” he explained. “Unfortunately, it has come on the back of the wrong side of a result. I kind of spoke to Chris [Gaunt] in December and said I was tired. We had just played the cup final and we had beaten Dundee United and me and Chris [Gaunt] had a meeting after that game.
“For me, the next steps are probably for the first time in three years that I want to go and look after myself now and what’s right for me. To me, I want to go down probably the more recruitment side of the game, where I wanted to be three years ago or the coaching side. I want to take a step back from the management side of it now and go down more of that road. That’s where I see where my passion is, developing players and recruiting. Whether what road I go down with that it is hard.
“I’ve really enjoyed the recruiting side of Hibs. I’ve got a lot of good contacts and good relationships with a lot of people around the country in Scotland, England and Europe. I feel that I can use that to any club’s advantage. Right now, I don’t know [my next steps]. I’m going to take a break, I need to take a break and over the last three years, my personal life has been difficult with what happened with my wife’s dad, going through COVID, and transitioning the club three times. It is time for me to now step back, take a break and pass that on to the next person.”