Ron Gordon’s long-term vision at heart of Hibs appointment

Nick Montgomery has signed a three-year deal to become Hibs manager.Nick Montgomery has signed a three-year deal to become Hibs manager.
Nick Montgomery has signed a three-year deal to become Hibs manager.
Hibs chief executive Ben Kensell has been speaking about the appointment of Nick Montgomery as the club’s new manager

Hibs hope the appointment of Nick Montgomery will enable them to fulfil the vision of late club owner Ron Gordon – by bringing some much-needed stability to Easter Road.

Montgomery was officially unveiled as manager at the club’s East Mains training ground this morning, with the 41-year-old former Central Coast Mariners boss stepping into the vacancy left by Lee Johnson’s departure.

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The A-League winner becomes Hibernian’s fifth manager in a little over four years, with Paul Heckingbottom, Jack Ross, Shaun Maloney and then Johnson all having a crack at the gig since Neil Lennon’s departure in early 2019.

Chief executive Ben Kensell understands the need to put an end to the revolving door policy when it comes to gaffers – and said yesterday that Gordon, who passed away in February, always thought stability was key to building lasting success.

“Yeah, 100 per cent,” said Kensell, who was joined at yesterday’s media conference by Gordon’s son, Ian.

“It’s something we need as a club. We know what the track record looks like, as a club. This is a long-term appointment, from our perspective.

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“And it was something that Ron always wanted, a long-term approach to the football club.

“We’re following in the footsteps of what Ron wanted and I know Ian is really passionate about this appointment, as well.

“We had a lot of interest in the role but there were criteria – and Nick ticked all the boxes. He’s come in with a winning team, a coaching staff who have achieved success on a modest budget.

“We’re delighted to get Nick in with his coaching team and David.”

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Insisting that Montgomery would be given support in the transfer market once the January window comes around, Kensell stressed: “Hands aren’t tied. We’ve had a really good couple of windows now, where we’ve backed the managers.

“Even Nick has said this is a good squad he’s inherited. We’ve got to get the best out of them and give them an identity of play.

“Of course, there will be support. There always has been, for every manager.

“Nick was our No. 1 candidate from the start. We knew we would be hard pushed to get a better candidate.”

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Gordon offered his backing to the new boss, saying: “For us, the criteria was very straightforward, a winning mentality and ability to bring young players on. Nick has shown that.

“He’s over-achieved with a small budget. Yes, he might not have the Scottish experience. But his knowledge of the Scottish game is good.

“We’ve struggled to figure out the real vision and identity we want. But we have that in place now. We feel Nick fits that, in terms of how we move forward.”

Montgomery held his first meeting with players and staff yesterday, before presiding over a training session alongside assistant Sergio Raimundo – who has joined him in the move from Australia – and first team coach David Gray, who has been retained as an integral part of the backroom staff.

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The former Scotland Under-21s cap, who actually played in a Scotland Futures game alongside current Hibs goalie David Marshall, said: “I’ve spoken to David Gray quite a lot. When you talk about the DNA of a club, he’s the perfect guy to work alongside me and Sergio, my assistant.

“We went for dinner last night and I really look forward to working with him, because he’s got such good knowledge of the squad and the league.

“He wants to learn and I see myself as a development coach. That’s not just developing players – it’s coaches as well.

“There are similarities between the A-League and here. That’s why you’ve seen so many Australian players have success here.

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“I’ve got a clear directive. I want to help Hibs become successful. But obviously the big picture is the academy.

“I like to go and watch a lot of the youth games. The future of the club is really bright and I can’t wait to get started.

“You have to bring players through. There are youngsters at the academy who are dreaming of walking out at Easter Road. I was in that position myself as a young player. That’s really powerful.

“With the right recruitment and producing young players, that’s what every club’s success should be built on.”

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