Shaun Maloney's winning mentality as a player will stand him in good stead at Hibs, says Steve Archibald
Shaun Maloney’s time with Belgium and winning mentality as a player will stand him in good stead as he take the reins at Hibs.
That’s the view of Steve Archibald, who has applauded the 38-year-old’s decision to widen his coaching experience before taking his first steps into management.
"Hopefully it will be a good appointment but the good thing is, he’s been out of Scotland. It’s important to get as much experience as possible from all different places, and understand it, and hopefully he can put it into play now he’s come back,” he told the Evening News in an exclusive interview.
Maloney won five league titles, three Scottish League Cups, and one FA Cup during his playing career and Archibald is of the opinion that appointing an individual with that level of success can only be a good thing.
“He was a winner during his playing career; he understands what it takes to win. That, plus his experience with Belgium – one of the best countries in Europe in footballing terms – is important.
"Whether he can go to Hibs and do that… it's certainly possible to put into a team the experience he’s gained but he has to do it with a certain understanding of the players he has.”
Archibald believes Maloney has a crucial decision to make as he embarks on his maiden managerial job.
"He’s got to decide whether he plays his system, or a system he knows the players can play and get the best out of it.
"It won’t be easy. He needs the fans on his side, and needs to hit the ground running and learn very quickly what he’s got at his disposal and what he needs.
"He’s going to have to use his contacts because there’s an ocean of players out there that would suit Hibs.
"He understands the culture he’s coming into, he’s played here before, so he has a lot going for him, but it won’t be easy.”
Maloney’s first match in charge is against another of Archibald’s former teams in Aberdeen, and the 65-year-old admits he couldn’t pick a side ahead of the encounter.
"When you’re a footballer and have a good time at the clubs you’re playing at, with situations like this then there are divided loyalties,” he explains.
"Aberdeen was my first full-time club; we won the league with a great team, Alex Ferguson became Alex Ferguson. It was fantastic.
"You always have loyalty and feeling for previous clubs. At Hibs it was a different situation; it was later in my career.
"There were a lot of youngsters so they bounced off my experience and I bounced off their youth. It was a great combination, and I enjoyed it. I scored goals, loved living in Edinburgh, it was a nice group of guys, the club treated me very well - what’s not to love?”
As if to illustrate his point about divided loyalties, Archibald plays it safe when predicting the final score.
"I had a great relationship with the fans at both clubs, so if you're asking me for a result – it’s going to be a draw!”