Leeann Dempster: Hibs aim for November head coach appointment

Hibernian chairman Ron Gordon and chief executive Leann Dempster
New Hibs chairman Ron Gordon will assist Leann Dempster for the first time

Hibernian hope to appoint a new head coach by the end of November, with chief executive Leeann Dempster insisting "there's no outstanding front-runner".

The Scottish Premiership club dismissed Paul Heckingbottom after Sunday's Scottish League Cup semi-final defeat.

Candidates such as Jack Ross and John Hughes have been linked with the position in recent days.

"It's a relatively wide net," Dempster told Hibs TV.

"We're very open-minded in terms of the individual we're looking for. We'll go through the same process as the past."

Dempster will lead the recruitment process for the fourth new boss since she joined from Motherwell in 2014 and will be assisted for the first time by new sporting director Graeme Mathie and new owner Ron Gordon.

"As we always do, we want to try and get the appointment right and we'll take as much time as we need to do that," Dempster said.

Hibs currently lie third bottom of the Scottish Premiership and the chief executive said the club would try to rectify inadequacies in the squad during the January transfer window.

"There's been a lot of talk about our recruitment over the summer," she said. "I think it's fair to say, with some hindsight, that there are areas we want to strengthen.

"The challenge will be on the guys in recruitment to make the adjustments we need in January because I think it's obvious that we need a few."

Dempster described Heckingbottom and assistant Robbie Stockdale, who took over when Neil Lennon left in February, as having "fantastic qualities".

"They obviously made a magnificent difference to us when they came in last season," she said. "It really changed our season around.

"But it's also fair to say that we aren't where we want to be at the moment. We've had to reflect on that and, ultimately, it's meant Paul and Robbie have left. It was a decision that wasn't an easy one to take."

Dempster believes that, with only a quarter of the league fixtures played, Hibs can still have a successful season.

"We don't just want to be a top-six club and we've said that a number of times - we want to be a club that is competing in Europe," she added.

"The series of results we've had is not going to put us in that position. Only winning games will get us up the league, but I don't think we're out of touch - there's a lot to play for."

'Invisible Man makes an appearance'

Referring to comments from some fans that he has not commented much in public, American chairman Gordon said "it's always good when 'The Invisible Man' makes an appearance".

"I'm engaged every day in the things that are going on at the club and I'm certainly tuned into the games," he added. "I may not be here all the time, but I'm very aware of what's going on."

The chairman said that, in the last three months, he had been involved in initiatives including an attempt to improve the matchday experience at Easter Road and creating a new strategic plan to be completed by the end of this year.

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