Hibs set to confirm Appleton as new head coach
Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster and chairman Rod Petrie have been looking for Neil Lennon’s successor (pic: SNS Group)
Hibernian’s search for a new manager is set to conclude this week with the appointment of former Blackburn Rovers boss Michael Appleton.
The 43-year-old is understood to have won the race to replace Neil Lennon and should take charge of his first game this weekend when Hamilton Accies visit Easter Road.
Eddie May and Grant Murray have been in the dug out for four games since Lennon’s surprise exit, the pair guiding Hibs past Raith Rovers and into the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup at the weekend.
Academy head May revealed afterwards that he had been told just prior to kick-off that the cup-tie would be his last game at the helm, the board having successfully completed their negotiations with the man they want to be the new head coach.
Speaking after the 3-1 victory over the Kirkcaldy outfit, May said: “I have been told this was my last game and that the new man will come in this week.
“I don’t have a clue who they’ve got. They just thanked me and Grant for what we’ve done and the new man should be announced sometime soon.”
Appleton’s time as boss at Blackburn lasted just 67 days early in 2013. He became head coach at Oxford United in July 2014, spending three seasons there before being named as assistant manager to Craig Shakespeare at Leicester City. He departed at the end of June 2018.
Elsewhere in the Scottish Cup, Celtic captain Scott Brown scored his first goal for two years as the holders swept aside St Johnstone in Glasgow.
Scott Sinclair helped himself to a hat-trick with James Forrest netting the other.
Kilmarnock and Rangers will have to do it all again on 20 February after battling out a goalless draw in Ayrshire.
Queen of the South goal machine Steven Dobbie smashed home his 38th goal of the season against Aberdeen at Palmerston Park but it wasn’t enough to stop the Dons easing into the last eight with a 4-1 victory.
The fairytale cup run of Juniors Auchinleck Talbot came to an end at Tynecastle as Hearts strolled to a 4-0 win.
Christophe Berra opened the scoring for the Jambos, with the other goals coming from Demetri Mitchell, Steven Maclean and Aidan Keena.
One major down side to the win was an injury to defender Michael Smith, with manager Craig Levein revealing the player faces ‘six to 12 weeks’ out with a suspected torn thigh muscle.
Scottish Cup 5th round results: Kilmarnock 0 Rangers 0, Celtic 5 St Johnstone 0, Aberdeen 4 Queen of the South 1, Hibs 3 Raith Rovers 1, East Fife 0 Partick Thistle 1, Hearts 4 Auchinleck Talbot 0.
City too slick for Chelsea
Manchester City swept back to the top of the English Premier League after dismantling Chelsea 6-0.
Any thoughts that Pep Guardiola’s players may have been feeling the pressure after Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Bournemouth restored the Reds’ place at the top were blown away within the first 25 minutes as City roared into a four-goal lead.
Sergio Aguero equalled the Premier League’s record of 11 hat-tricks at the Etihad.
Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan were also on the scoresheet as more questions were asked about Maurizio Sarri’s spell in charge at Stamford Bridge.
Tottenham Hotspur kept the pressure on at the top thanks to a 3-1 home win against Leicester City.
Manchester United, meanwhile, moved into the top four places for the first time since the opening game of the season as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stretched his unbeaten run to 11 games with a 3-0 win at Fulham.
Paul Pogba scored twice with Anthony Martial netting the other.