Leading candidates to take over as Hibs manager
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Here are some of the frontrunners.
Early favourite. The highly-rated 40-year-old Scot is looking for his next challenge after departing Preston North End – after nearly four years – by mutual consent in March with the club 16th in the Championship table. Became Hamilton's player-manager in 2013 at 31 and led them to promotion to the Scottish Premiership in 2014. He was the second youngest manager in the Football League when appointed manager of Norwich City, and won promotion to the Premier League. Has more than 375 games under his managerial belt already. Ironically, Neil was on BBC Sportsound on Wednesday night as a guest to cover the Livingston match and will be on Hibs chief executive Ben Kensell’s radar after the pair worked together at Norwich. Neil said on the radio: "I think I’ll certainly manage in Scotland again if I get the right opportunity.”
Something different. A former Swiss international midfielder who won 75 caps, Wicky won the Swiss Super League and Swiss Cup double with Basel in 2017, and also spent two years in Major League Soccer with the Chicago Fire, potentially catching the eye of Hibs owner Ron Gordon. Wicky was named head coach of the United States Under-17 team two years ago before taking charge of Chicago. He missed the MLS Cup playoffs by one point in 2020, and was fired on September 30 this year.
Safe pair of hands. Knows how to meet owner Ron Gordon’s expectations of finishing consistently in the top four after doing so season after season in eight years at Aberdeen. Out of work since being sacked by the Dons in March, he is available and knows the Scottish game inside out. But it was a chronic lack of goals and attacking intent which cost him in the and at Pittodrie. Doesn’t exactly fit with the attacking style of football Gordon is looking for.
Unfinished business. Had almost three years at Hibs and guided the team back to the top flight before leaving after a fallout with then chief executive Leanne Dempster. He has been heavily linked with the Ipswich Town vacancy in recent days and is understood to be looking for an English club rather than returning to Scotland. But he is box office and would be popular among large sections of the Hibs support.
Sensible option. Since delivering a historic cup double for St Johnstone last season, beating Hibs in a final and semi-final, speculation about his next step has cranked up. Saints´ league form this season has been poor and they're currently in the relegation play-off spot, but his stock is still high. Having been overlooked for jobs in England, a move to Edinburgh could be a logical step but it would be cost Hibs to get him, with compensation required.
Uninspiring choice. The 52-year-old has not managed in Scotland since his first job as Livingston boss from June 2005 to February 2006, but has more than 600 games under his belt as a manager in England at Wycombe, Colchester, Norwich, Aston Villa, Blackburn, Wolves, Stoke and Ipswich. He left Portman Road by mutual consent in February after failing to mount a promotion push in League One.
Fans favourite. Famously ended 114 years of hurt by winning the Scottish Cup at Hibs in 2016. Hibs also reached the League Cup final under his watch that year, losing to Ross County. Stubbs guided Hibs to second place in the 2014-15 Championship and third the following season, but lost in the play-offs each time. He flopped at Rotherham and St Mirren, lasted only nine games and eight games each and hasn’t had a job since leaving the Pasiley club in September 2018.
Too obvious option. Recruited primarily by Ross himself only last month to oversee the academy at HTC, the former Blackburn Rovers boss has vast experience and is already in the building. The 54-year-old Scot has worked at Reading, Real Sociedad, Coventry City, and most recently in Australia's A-League with Melbourne Victory. Kean has managed DPMM FC in Brunei, winning the Singapore League Cup in 2014 and the Singapore Premier League in 2015. But he has been brought in specifically to do the academy job and would have been named interim boss if he had a realistic chance.
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