Hibs boss on lessons learned from colourful but “honest” mentor Warnock

New Hibs head coach can draw on the experience of working under some elite-level coaches
Michael Tongue (left) with former Blades boss Neil Warnock (centre) and fellow youth academy graduate Nick Montgomery in his Sheffield United days.Michael Tongue (left) with former Blades boss Neil Warnock (centre) and fellow youth academy graduate Nick Montgomery in his Sheffield United days.
Michael Tongue (left) with former Blades boss Neil Warnock (centre) and fellow youth academy graduate Nick Montgomery in his Sheffield United days.

Nick Montgomery fully expects to get a call from managerial mentor Neil Warnock asking for Hibs tickets – and will only be too glad to oblige for the gaffer who gave him his senior debut.

The new Hibs head coach came through the ranks at Sheffield United under larger than life character Warnock, who says one of his biggest professional regrets was never getting a chance to manage in Scottish football.

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Asked about his old boss, who has a house in Scotland, Montgomery said he learned a lot from a coach whose touchline antics and colourful turns of phrase made him a cult hero in a managerial career spanning over four decades, explaining: “I played for Neil Warnock for a long time, he gave me my debut at 17, 18.

“People see him ranting and raving on YouTube and people still send me them now.

“In terms of his man-management he was always honest, he would tell you if you were playing or weren’t playing.

“Whether you agreed with it or not you really respected that as a player. I respected that.

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“I’ve been fortunate, I’ve worked with Brian Kidd, Bryan Robson, Kevin Blackwell, I spent time with Mike Whelan when he came to Australia for a year and he’s a good mentor for me.

“I’ve got good people within the game that I can pick the phone up to if I want any advice.

“I’m now working with Brian McDermott (Hibs director of football), a top football man there so I think it’s important you have support. But ultimately I’m my own man and make my own decisions.”

Montgomery revealed that Warnock had been in touch before the Central Coast Mariners boss led his underdogs to glory in the A-League Grand Final, saying: “I spoke to Neil a while back, he contacted me before the final and had said a lot of nice things about me.

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“I speak to him now and again, but I hadn’t spoken to anyone about Hibs (before arriving) because nothing had been confirmed.

“Neil has a few properties scattered around so no doubt he will be knocking me up for some tickets one day when he’s up here.

“He’s a great character, a great guy and I have a lot of time for him.”