Nine players and less than two months to turn things around - Alan Stubbs recalls 'frantic' arrival at Hibs

Alan Stubbs has opened up about the "big problems" he had to fix when he arrived at Hibs in the summer of 2014.

Monday, 27th May 2019, 1:02 pm
Alan Stubbs during his first few months as Hibs head coach

The former Celtic and Everton defender took charge at Easter Road following the club's relegation from the top flight, and revealed that "everything was fragmented".

Speaking to The Coaches' Voice, Stubbs admitted there was "no connection with the fans", who had just seen the side relegated to Scottish football's second tier for the second time in a little over 15 years.

After more than five years with the Toffees as a coach, Stubbs said he felt ready for the step-up, adding: "I had a real belief I could do the job at senior level. I’d put in the hours. Done the groundwork."

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But on arrival in Edinburgh, he was faced with an uphill task - and limited time.

"When I went in, I had about nine players, two members of staff and less than two months to try and turn things around before the new season started. You could say it was a bit frantic", Stubbs recalled.

"But I saw it as a chance to really put my stamp on what I wanted the club to look like. To move it forward."

Hailing the arrival of chief executive Leeann Dempster and Head of Football Operations George Craig, Stubbs said the trio - along with chairman Rod Petrie - had "worked quickly" to bring in players "who were going to be right for the club" as well as "implementing a structure that was going to endure strong foundations".

Stubbs also stressed the importance of team spirit, explaining: "When people look at it from the outside, they always put it down to the manager. But it wasn't one individual - it was everybody.

"My days as a player taught me the importance of team spirit, and I’m still a big believer in it now I’m a manager. It’s a commodity that doesn’t cost anything to put together – but when you’ve got it, it’s priceless.

"When you have that spirit, you know that you’ve got a group of players who can respond to negative situations on the pitch.

"You know that everything doesn’t fall apart when you go a goal behind or have a man sent off, that it’s not the end of the world if you go behind in a game."

Touching on the historic Scottish Cup win - in which Hibs came from behind to win - Stubbs said: "By the time I left Hibs in 2016, it felt like a completely different club to the one I’d walked into two years earlier.

"That year, we’d won the Scottish Cup for the first time in 114 years. It was my proudest moment as a manager so far. And it proved to be just the start of getting the club back to where they belonged.

"The fans and the staff all played a huge part in that."