Pat Stanton bullish over Hibs future

By Thomas McGuiganBBC Scotland
Former Hibs captain Pat Stanton
Stanton says Hibs fans will return to Easter Road to watch a winning team

There's been little sunshine on Leith to warm Hibs supporters in recent times.

With manager Colin Calderwood sacked a year into the job and Hibs languishing in ninth spot - a point off the bottom of the table - storm clouds are hovering menacingly over an icy Easter Road.

Calderwood, Hibs' seventh boss in 10 years, was shown the door after a poor run of results.

But former Hibs manager and captain Pat Stanton believes his departure offers the club the chance to begin the slow process of recovery.

Calderwood's turbulent 12-month reign was brought to an end just days before chairman Rod Petrie was due to face disgruntled fans at the club's AGM.

Billy Brown, 60, has been appointed caretaker boss and Stanton, who captained Hibs to their 1972 League Cup victory, told BBC Scotland that Brown will stabilise the situation at Easter Road.

"Billy will be ideal for that (caretaker role). He's got a lot of experience of working without a lot of resources," he said.

Billy Brown (left) and Jim Jefferies
Billy Brown (left) and Jim Jefferies managed city rivals Hearts

Former Hibs midfielder Michael O'Neill, now in charge of Shamrock Rovers, appears to be the early frontrunner.

But there has also been speculation that Brown could reunite with former Hearts boss Jim Jefferies at Easter Road.

And Stanton believes Hibs fans shouldn't rule out a former Jambo taking up the managerial reins permanently.

"You hear people talking about Jim Jefferies as well. We know Jim's connections with Hearts but you can't be too parochial about the whole thing," he said.

"If you can get a man to come in and do the job then it doesn't matter to me. His background doesn't matter at all and he's proved himself that he can do things in this league. If that's the case then I don't see the problem.

"Some Hibs supporters will, but I don't. I'd rather see the job given to a man who's capable and experienced rather than a newcomer."

Attendances at Easter Road dwindled as Hibs fans voted with their feet; empty green seats became a regular feature during Calderwood's tenure.

Derek Riordan and Liam Miller were among a host of stars who left the Scottish capital in the summer.

And although Garry O'Connor and Ivan Sproule returned for a second spell at Easter Road, Stanton believes the squad isn't up to scratch and should also shoulder some responsibility for the current plight.

"There've been far too many changes and the supporters start to lose a bit of heart," he said.

"However, they're still there and haven't emigrated. They're just waiting for the club to pick up again, which hopefully they will. The club needs some continuity to settle things down and push up the league.

"The fans are there to support them; they're disappointed but they're still there and will come back when things start to pick up."

Historically, Hibs have often favoured a cavalier approach to their managerial appointments: from Franck Sauzée and John Hughes to John Collins and Tony Mowbray.

But Stanton believes a pragmatic approach is crucial to the club's pursuit of silverware.

"Right now it should be about calming things down and winning football matches because, at the end of the day, that's what it's all about."

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