Hibernian: Chief executive Leeann Dempster defends under-fire club's summer recruitment

By Jordan ElgottBBC Scotland

Hibernian chief executive Leeann Dempster has defended the under-fire club's summer recruitment after sacking head coach Paul Heckingbottom.

Few of the 10 new signings have made a positive impact as Hibs languish in 10th place in the Scottish Premiership.

Around £300,000 was paid for striker Christian Doidge, who has scored only two goals in 15 outings.

When asked what went wrong during the transfer window, Dempster said: "I don't think anything went wrong."

The chief executive added: "I think we have a strong group of players here. I think we need to make some tweaks around the edges, we've had good recruitment at this club over a number of years.

"Some players have had unnecessary criticism. We know that there are some gaps, we maybe need to add a bit of depth.

"I know people have opinions but if you could live your life in hindsight we'd be Champions League winners at the moment. We don't do that, we make our decisions and choices at the time. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't."

Dempster hopes to have appointed Heckingbottom's successor by the end of November, after bringing the Englishman's nine-month reign to an end this week.

Former Alloa Athletic and St Mirren manager Jack Ross has been linked with Hibs following his dismissal from English League One side Sunderland last month.

"We know Jack well," Dempster said. "He's an outstanding manager.

"We don't have an obvious person so we're open-minded. I don't think it's fair to comment on one name or another.

"We get names thrown at us all the time - people ask how many names are on the list but the reality is that you get loads of names thrown at you."

'Criticism is fine, abuse isn't'

On Thursday, Tracey Smith announced her resignation as supporter director citing "relentless" abuse aimed at her and staff at the club.

Smith, who became a director in 2017, has had to seek legal and police advice during her time at Easter Road.

"Fans are allowed to criticise, undoubtedly," Dempster said. "They are supporters who fund the club and help the club. Criticism is one thing, abuse is different. It's that fine line with how supporters express themselves, not just in regards to myself but in regards to everybody at the club.

"Criticism is fine as long as it's measured and appropriate. When it gets to the other side of it, they really need to moderate it.

"The director of the supporters club had to step down. I respect the supporters massively. Criticism is fine, abuse isn't. When things are tough at the club you have to be resilient. When it's not good, be critical but be respectful, that's all we ask."

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