'Hibs fans should know how much it means to him' - the importance of captaincy to Paul Hanlon laid bare
Paul Hanlon may have been an obvious choice as Hibs’ new club captain, but there was one person who refused to consider it a foregone conclusion, according to manager Jack Ross.
The 31-year-old defender, who has made over 460 appearances for the club since graduating from the academy into the first team in 2008, was named as the replacement for David Gray, who retired from playing and moved across to the Leith coaching team this summer.
And while his role as match day captain for the majority of last season made him the prime candidate for the club captaincy, Ross revealed that the appointment was greeted with delight.
“It wasn’t something he was taking for granted or assumed he would be given,” said Ross.
“Hibs fans should know how much it means to him. It means a massive amount to him to be given the honour of being club captain.
“I’m fortunate that there are a number of players within the main group who have made massive contributions to this club and one of those, Dave, has stepped away and moved onto my coaching staff and been brilliant for me, making such a big impact in such a short time – he is made for that transition – but that left a gap because he was a brilliant captain in so many ways.
“So, having someone who has that standing is important but Paul has that respect, and speaking to him he is still really, really pleased to be given that responsibility.”
One of the men in the dressing room with European experience and looking to build on one of his best ever seasons for club and country, Ross says his new captain’s value to the team is vast as they head into their Conference League qualifying campaign.
“Players speak to each other more than they do to me so what you want is the message you are delivering to be consistent and you want your senior players and captain to be in line with you and particularly when they have that experience. That way it isn’t rehearsed or prompted and someone like Paul can draw on his own experience in these competitions. That will be valuable in the week ahead.”
Paul McGinn has been installed as vice-captain.