Eddie May vows to give Hibs an attacking style
Caretaker manager won't settle for second best
Eddie May’s main task in the coming weeks is to ensure Hibs are adequately prepared to try and win all of their next four games. He also intends to ensure they play with no shortage of attacking intent.
The head of academy coaching has been placed in temporary charge of the first team for the second time this year after Paul Heckingbottom was relieved of his duties on Monday. He will remain as caretaker until a new manager is appointed, with chief executive Leeann Dempster hoping to complete that process by the end of this month.
That means that, after today’s trip to St Johnstone, May could potentially be in charge for the home game against Motherwell, a midweek trip to St Mirren and a home game against Kilmarnock on the last day of the month. With the team currently in tenth place, a point off the bottom of the table, the caretaker is adamant he will be sending Hibs out to play on the front foot, with the aim of picking up as many victories as they can from his matches in charge.
“These are huge games, but let’s not be kidded, Hibs are more than capable of winning those four games. Hibs should be capable. We’re a big club and we will go into every game feeling we should be able to win. We can’t go feeling sorry for ourselves.
“If I have to take those four games, I’m more than happy to do that. With this group of players, we’ll do all we can to win those games. They have probably been a little below par to where they can be, but hopefully we can get the best out of them to try and get a result against St Johnstone.
“We’ve just been trying to get more attacking play out of them, we want them to be brave. We have some very good players in an attacking sense and we have to try and get the best from them.
“It’s about trying to get Hibs winning games of football. They have drawn too many games, that’s why the club made the decision, they didn’t get enough wins on the board. Hibs have got to be competing at the top and try to get into Europe, and unfortunately they are not in that position at the moment.
“But they’re only eight points off third place. We have this game against St Johnstone and then we are playing Motherwell, so it could be cut to two. All I am going to try and do is make sure they are positive and that we play attacking football but also do the other part of the game and defend properly whether it’s set plays or open play.”
May believes whoever comes in to replace Heckingbottom will have a good chance of getting Hibs back on track. The Easter Road were moving in the right direction in their first four years after being relegated in 2014 but they have lost their way over the past 18 months. May is confident there will be plenty high-calibre contenders interested in the vacancy and eager to turn things round.
“This is the third biggest job in Scottish football, in my opinion,” he said. “Rangers and Celtic are on a different level because of the finances. But Hibs are the third biggest club in Scotland, in my opinion, and hopefully we go and show that in the next weeks, months, years ahead. We’ve done fantastically well over the past few years. The Scottish Cup win did enormous things for the club. On top of that, Neil Lennon came in and was very successful, getting us into Europe. We want to be in Europe every single year. To do that, you need to win games of football. Unfortunately, we’ve not done that – and that’s why Paul left this week.”
May outlined the qualities he feels are essential to being a successful Hibs manager.
“I think you need a strong character,” he said. “You need a good work ethic – and to be a leader at the football club. You can be a very good coach but, to come here, there is a lot of pressure. There has to be a standard all the time and you have to be able to adapt to different styles of the game.
“But you have to be attacking. I think that’s very much at the forefront of Hibernian Football Club and what they try to achieve, attacking football and scoring goals. Entertain but also do the other part of the game as well.”
May, a former Hibs player, is not in the running to land the job permanently but is honoured to lead the team he supported as a boy. “It’s a privilege to be in this position and I’m happy to do it,” he explained. “But there will be other candidates, better than Eddie May, who can go and succeed as the Hibs manager. And I’m very respectful of that.
“I’m an employee of the football club, I’m a Hibs supporter – and I’ll do my damnedest to make sure the club is going in the right direction. And then I’ll welcome, with open arms, the new man coming in, just as I have with the other managers here.”