Gael Bigirimana: Hibs’ Paul Heckingbottom is the best man manager I’ve ever had

Hibernian manager Paul Heckingbottom
Hibernian manager Paul Heckingbottom
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Gael Bigirimana believes Hibs are in good hands under Paul Heckingbottom – even though he didn’t get a single minute of game time under the South Yorkshireman.

The 25-year-old, who moved to Easter Road from Motherwell on a short-term deal in January, was an unused substitute for Heckingbottom’s first five games in charge and then didn’t make the match-day squad at all for the closing two months even though he was fully fit.

Despite his personal frustration, Bigirimana was impressed with the way Hibs’ head coach went about his business and described him as the best man-manager he has worked with. “I have high hopes for Paul in his time at Hibs, I loved his sessions and teaching,” Bigirimana said. “He’s probably the best coach I’ve worked under in terms of man management.”

Bigirimana’s only one appearance for Hibs came as a substitute against Aberdeen in early February when Eddie May and Grant May were in caretaker charge. He is philosophical about why his time at Easter Road didn’t work out and has no axe to grind with Heckingbottom over being frozen out.

“The team won a cup game against Raith Rovers before the gaffer became the manager,” said Bigiriman. “I was on the bench and didn’t participate in the game, so the next league game the new gaffer had to keep the same team. After that, they went ten games unbeaten, so at that point the gaffer had to keep the same team to push for the top six, which they achieved. He spoke to me about the situation, but it’s football at the end of the day.”