Hibs appoint Paul Heckingbottom as new head coach, ex-Scotland international Robbie Stockdale named assistant boss

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

HIBS have appointed Paul Heckingbottom as their new head coach on a three-and-a-half-year contract.

The 41-year-old put pen to paper following talks at the club’s Tranent training base on Wednesday evening and will meet his new squad on Thursday ahead of their Premiership clash against Hamilton this weekend.

Former Scotland international Robbie Stockdale, who left Sunderland’s coaching staff last year, has been named as Heckingbottom’s assistant.

“It’s an honour to be named head coach of Hibernian – a club with a rich history and commitment to playing attacking football,” Heckingbottom told Hibs’ official website.

“There is so much potential here and the club has everything going for it.

“I’m looking forward to getting to work and meeting the players and staff on Thursday, before stepping up preparations for Saturday’s game against Hamilton.

“I will give everything I have to be a success here. Supporters can be assured of that.”

Hibs have been hunting for a successor to Neil Lennon since the shock departure of the Northern Irishman last month, with Heckingbottom and former Oxford boss Michael Appleton swiftly emerging as the standout candidates.

When it became clear that Appleton and the Hibs board did not see eye-to-eye regarding certain contractual details, that opened the door for Heckingbottom to return to management for the first time since being dismissed by Leeds last June.

“Paul excelled throughout the interview process,” added chairman Rod Petrie. “He is bright, driven and hungry to help drive the club forward. As a board we will do all that we can to assist him in his endeavours.”

Heckingbottom began his coaching career with boyhood heroes Barnsley, emerging as the under-21s manager before taking on the top job in 2016. He won promotion to the Championship and lifted the EFL Trophy during a hugely successful two-year stint at Oakwell.

An unhappy stint at Leeds United followed when he crossed the Yorkshire divide in February 2018, winning just four of his 16 matches in charge before being dismissed just four months after taking the role.

However, Hibs chief executive officer Leeann Dempster is adamant Heckingbottom is the right man to bring swash-buckling football to Easter Road and revitalise their charge for the top six.

“Paul made a really positive impression on us from our first meeting with him,” she said. “His work at Barnsley speaks for itself, where he was able to combine the kind of dynamic, attacking football our own fans appreciate with the development of some talented young players.

“With the structure we already have in place, Paul is the right person to embrace that support and take it to a new level.

“On behalf of everyone at Hibernian, we would like to extend a warm welcome to both Paul and Robbie.”

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