Paul Heckingbottom reveals that the first bit of supporter attention he attracted as Hibs head coach came from a Hearts fan


PAUL HECKINGBOTTOM has revealed that even Hearts fans have welcomed him to Edinburgh with open arms after one jocular Jambo crashed dinner with his parents on Saturday night.

However, the new Hibernian head coach is determined to sour that particular relationship by driving the Easter Road outfit up the table.

Heckingbottom, no stranger to the Scottish capital even prior to his appointment, has been growing further accustomed to his new surroundings and has not been averse to pressing the flesh with punters out in Auld Reekie.

Of course, that is easier after a victory and following his maiden win over Hamilton, the 41-year-old took his parents out for some celebratory scran and quickly realised they he is already a familiar face.

“My parents were up on so I took them out for a meal on Saturday night after the game and met a couple of fans, which was nice,” said Heckingbottom. “The first one was actually a Hearts fan.

“He was nice to me, so it was alright. I’m sure not every Hearts fan will be so positive with me if we get where I want Hibs to be.

“You can’t please everyone in a city that’s split!

“I was here a few months ago because one of my little girls was playing in a football tournament in Edinburgh so we brought the rest of the family up for a holiday.

“It’s not unfamiliar to me and has been great so far – but once we get our own place it will be even better.”

Indeed, that personal upheaval is the often ignored aspect of a new manager arriving, particularly from outwith the borders of Scotland.

Heckingbottom’s wife and school-aged family will continue to live in England for the moment, while he has yet to find a place of his own.

The lack of reliable Wifi is a particular bugbear for a coach so attentive to detail and reliant on access to a swathe of work tools.

“It’s a necessity to find somewhere because we’ve got no broadband in that place we’re in at the minute. Absolute nightmare!” he smiled.

“So we’re either at the training ground or sat in a hotel somewhere trying to get good broadband.

“It sounds daft but logistics like that makes a big difference to your job. If a 30-second job turns into a 30-minute job it all adds up. These little things are really important.”

He added : “I’m not moving the family up at the moment because there are GCSEs and things like that which will make that difficult in the short term, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be settled here and make sure we’ve got a home here.

“You get used to travelling because it’s just part of the job. If you couldn’t handle that you wouldn’t be in this line of work.”

Even if his digs are temporary, Heckingbottom already feels right at home on the training ground.

He is seeking to gradually imprint his methods and demands on the squad, with the players understood to already be relishing the slick, focused video presentations, use of GPS technology and tactical tweaks.

It is aimed towards securing long-term progress, while still picking up immediate results. A delicate balancing act.

“The job has been 24/7 so far and I expected it to be constant at the beginning,” Heckingbottom added ahead of Friday’s visit to Dundee.

“It is a long-term thing and you have to have a long-term approach. Of course, you need results in the short-term so you have to affect the players and their mindset.

“But in terms of their understanding of what you want from them, it is difficult to speed that process up.

“There needs to be two approaches: in the short-term, really get them fired up and focused on how important these games are and what they mean to them as a team. In the long-term, help them out and find little ways to improve their game, their understanding to help take us forward.”