Cleared of any wrongdoing
Hibs say Lennon ‘not sacked’ as Irishman departs
Neil Lennon has waved goodbye to Hibs after two-and-a-half years in charge (pic: SNS Group)
Hibernian confirmed the club has severed ties with manager Neil Lennon despite clearing him of any wrongdoing in the incident which saw the Northern Irishman suspended on Friday.
The club said that Lennon and assistant Garry Parker had not been sacked, adding the pair hadn’t resigned.
Trouble flared after a flare-up with chief executive Leeann Dempster following some frank exchanges with the first-team squad at their East Mains training base.
Insisting the duo had left by ‘mutual consent’, the club praised the pair’s achievements during their two-and-half-year stay in Leith.
The club statement said: “The management team of Neil Lennon and Garry Parker has left the club by mutual consent. “They have not been dismissed and have not resigned. The suspension, put in place to allow an internal review, was lifted by the club as part of this agreement.
“Despite widespread speculation, the club confirms that neither Neil nor Garry has been guilty of any misconduct or wrongdoing and no disciplinary process has been commenced.
“However, Neil, Garry and the club now consider that it would be in the best interests of all parties to part amicably. The club would like to place on notice its thanks to both Neil and Garry for their hard work and the success they have brought the club.
“Their period in charge has seen the club restored to the top flight, reach the top 4 with a record points total, qualify for Europe and have record season ticket sales since 1958.
“Neil and Garry would like to thank the club for having faith in them when they were appointed in 2016 and for their support over two and a half years.
“They would like to thank their players for their hard work and dedication and finally, the fans for their loyalty and support over their tenure.”
Easter Road chairman Rod Petrie also felt the need to comment, adding: “We are grateful to Neil and Garry for all their efforts and in particular for leading the club back to the top flight of Scottish football.
“We wish nothing but the best for Neil and Garry and their families for the future.”
Speaking for the first time since his suspension, the former Celtic manager said: “I would like to thank the board, the coaching staff, the players and all the fans for making the last two-and-a-half years so enjoyable.
“It has been my privilege to serve the club and I wish it every success in the future.”
The club will now step up its search for a new head coach, with one of the names linked to the post, Gordon Strachan, having seemingly distanced himself from the job.
“Since I left the Scotland job, I’ve been speaking to people in the game about my ideas, and visiting different academies around the world,” he said.
“So management isn’t on my agenda right now. But if something came along to give me full scope to do what I’m talking about with youth football, and to manage, then who knows?
“You never say no to any job. I’m only 61, I can still coach, and run about, no problem. I just don’t want to take a job for the sake of it. I want to take a job I love.”
He added: “Oh, and if anyone sees me in Edinburgh on Thursday, I’m there to talk about my youth football ideas with the government and local councils and so on – not interviewing for the Hibs job. I’m staying with my mother for a few days, not heading for a job interview.”
Rice named Hamilton head coach
Brian Rice has been named as Hamilton Accies’ new head coach, replacing Martin Canning who left the club earlier this week after four years in charge.
It will be Rice’s first managerial post, the 55-year-old joining from St Mirren where he was No. 2 to Oran Kearney.
Rice will be part of a new managerial structure at the Hope CBD Stadium and will work under director of football Allan McGonigall.
His first game in charge this weekend will be at home to fellow-Premiership strugglers Dundee.
In addition to his time with the Buddies, Rice has also been assistant manager at Falkirk, Hibs and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.