Paul Heckingbottom: Hibs’ structure and style suit my leadership
Paul Heckingbottom is confident the structure at Hibs is the ideal fit for his style of leadership.
The new Hibs head coach left Barnsley a year ago after fearing his successful spell would become more difficult to manage, and only lasted four months at Leeds before becoming their latest managerial casualty.
The 41-year-old has admitted he was “naive” over taking the Leeds job but he feels he can rebuild his career in Scotland.
“Hibs always stood out to me as a club with a plan, a real clear way of how they wanted to do things and be successful, and that was reinforced through the process and the conversations,” said Heckingbottom, who led Barnsley to promotion to the Sky Bet Championship and a Football League Trophy win.
“When you think it’s a good fit, which I did, I think you’ve got to go for it.”
Hibs moved to a head coach structure when Alan Stubbs took over in 2014 with head of football operations George Craig involved in the recruitment of players and the head coach.
When asked about his title, Heckingbottom said: “It’s irrelevant. You go into a club and you know what everyone’s roles and responsibilities are.
“I’ve been called head coach and manager, I’ve been a CEO, I’ve been head of recruitment, I’ve done the lot.
“At other clubs you might be head coach but your hands are tied in lots of areas.
“Title means absolutely nothing to me, it was more the conversations you have about what’s expected of me, what do I expect from other people, what our overall expectations are, how we are going to get there. And that’s what fitted well.
“How I would do it was very similar to here based on resources and infrastructure.
“Your problems come when goalposts change. That’s when you might be working towards one set of things for six weeks and all of a sudden the resources you’ve got or people’s minds change and you have wasted six weeks.”
Stubbs led Hibs to their first Scottish Cup in 114 years before Neil Lennon guided them to promotion and a fourth-placed finish in Scotland last season.
“That’s an appeal for me,” Heckingbottom said. “It’s evidence of good work behind the scenes: two people have been in charge and done really good jobs, but done really good jobs within this support and infrastructure.
“Now we are in with the elite and the margins are much smaller so the job becomes much more difficult, but that’s the attraction of it.
“There has been some really good work and I’d love to be able to follow that and keep adding to that.”
Heckingbottom’s first game in charge comes on Saturday against Hamilton at Easter Road and he is confident his new players can adapt to his style.
“We have got a lot of energy, a lot of legs, which is great because we want to be a threat on the counter, we want to press high up the pitch, and we want technical players who can keep the ball.
“We want to be on the front foot all the time, when we win the ball we want to play forward. I don’t want any fear. I’m not bothered if we lose the ball. If we lose the ball trying to do the right things, great, we will just try and win it back high up the pitch.
“We want to be difficult to play against, play on the front foot, play with an energy and pace that’s exciting.”