'There absolutely will be additions in January' - Hibs Sporting Director Graeme Mathie speaks on Jack Ross, transfer window and head coach selection process

Sporting Director discusses appointment of Jack Ross, the role of performance analysis in hunt for Heckingbottom's successor and looks ahead to January transfer window
Graeme Mathie (left) with new Hibs head coach Jack RossGraeme Mathie (left) with new Hibs head coach Jack Ross
Graeme Mathie (left) with new Hibs head coach Jack Ross

Hibs' Sporting Director Graeme Mathie has given an insight into how the Easter Road side approached the process of selecting a new head coach following the departure of Paul Heckingbottom.

The Yorkshireman was relieved of his duties after the 5-2 Betfred Cup semi-final defeat by Celtic at the start of this month, with just one win in the league this term to his name.

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Academy chief Eddie May, first team coach Grant Murray and senior first team squad member Steven Whittaker led the side to a morale-boosting 4-1 win away to St Johnstone last weekend, with Jack Ross being appointed the new head coach on Friday.

Speaking to Hibs TV, Mathie - who played a key role in the selection process alongside chief executive Leeann Dempster and chairman Ron Gordon - explained how the former St Mirren and Sunderland boss emerged as the leading candidate.

"Jack's been on the club's radar for a number of years now and even though there were other people considered, there were a number of different factors about Jack - in particular about his career - that we thought really suited the club and where are just now.

"We looked for someone who had a history of bringing through academy players, which Jack has done at a number of clubs; someone who can play attacking football and someone who's been adaptable in terms of the way they play.

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"As we followed the process it became clear that Jack was an ideal fit for where we are and, most importantly, we felt that the club is in a position where Jack can come in and take it forward."

Headline stats and performance analysis

Mathie also highlighted the contribution made by the club's Head of Performance Analysis in the process.

"Calvin pulled together a really detailed piece of work on all the shortlisted candidates. He was able to be really clear in terms of the style of football they played, which was quite an important factor.

"He also really looked underneath the headline stats like win percentage, and tried to put a lot of the data we'd collected into context.

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"Nobody gets the Hibernian head coach's job on the basis of an interview and a PowerPoint presentation. There's a huge amount more work that goes into it.

"When Calvin can produce the document he did for Leeann [Dempster, chief executive], myself, Ron [Gordon, chairman] and the board it shows that there's a really good piece of work to support what we found in the interview process and these two things together mean we know we've got the right guy."

January signings?

Mathie also hinted that Hibs would be doing business in the January transfer window.

He said: "We've identified areas where we can strengthen the squad. Jack might want a slightly different type of player than we've looked at before but I don't think there's going to be a huge difference and that's part of the process - looking at a coach who can use the types of players we've got in the building to play the style of football we want to play.

"There will still absolutely be additions made in January but I don't think there are going to be wholesale changes and that was a key part of the process."