Hibs manager hunt latest as fan favourite clears important hurdle

Malky Mackay (right) will present recommendations to board and CEO Ben Kensell (left).Malky Mackay (right) will present recommendations to board and CEO Ben Kensell (left).
Malky Mackay (right) will present recommendations to board and CEO Ben Kensell (left). | SNS Group
With pre-season just weeks away, can Hibs afford to dawdle?

Interim Hibs boss David Gray is on the final short list of contenders being interviewed for the vacant manager’s role at Easter Road, as the search for Nick Montgomery’s replacement continues. And the Scottish Cup-winning captain plans to have a backroom brains trust ready to go immediately, should he get the nod from the board.

It is understood that Gray has already won over a number of key figures at Hibs, who value his role as a respected dressing room leader, appreciate his good record as a stand-in – and have been impressed with his plans to rebuild a squad in disrepair. The former skipper’s candidacy is being given serious consideration as he competes with a number of more experienced figures for the role. As part of the process, Gray is understood to have addressed the need to recruit his own assistants, with Montgomery, No. 2 Sergio Raimundo and goalkeeping coach Miguel Miranda all axed with just two games of the season remaining.

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Hibs start pre-season training at East Mains in just over three weeks’ time, with players due to report for duty on June 21. A continental training camp, complete with friendlies, has been planned for the first week in July and the first Premier Sports Cup group game is scheduled for the weekend of July 13/14.

Although new sporting director Malky Mackay doesn’t officially start work until this weekend, the former Scottish FA performance director and Ross County boss has been leading the search for Monty’s replacement. Mackay will make his recommendation to a board which now includes billionaire Bournemouth owner Bill Foley, who ploughed £6 million into the club in exchange for a 25 per cent share earlier this year.

Gray has openly declared his interest in being considered for a role he’s filled on a stand-in basis four times, insisting: “In terms of backing my ability to do the job, 100 per cent, I believe I can do it. I’ve demonstrated that now on a few occasions.”

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The fan favourite, scorer of the dramatic late winner as Hibs ended their 114-year wait to lift the Scottish Cup in 2016, remains bookies’ favourite for the job, leading a field that includes Raith boss Ian Murray and former Dundee United manager Tam Courts, among others.