Easter Road changes

Maloney to net Hibs job but Gray in charge for final

Shaun Maloney

Target: Shaun Maloney (pic: SNS Group)

Shaun Maloney is set to take his first steps into management as boss of Hibs – but won’t be in charge for Sunday’s League Cup Final against Celtic.

The Easter Road club have identified the 38-year-old as their No. 1 target to replace Jack Ross but it will be interim boss David Gray who will be in the dug out at Hampden Park.

Former Celtic and Wigan forward Maloney is currently working as a coach with the Belgium national team under boss Roberto Martinez.

The Hibs board want a manager who is “progressive” and “hungry” and he appears to fit the criteria perfectly.

After coaching the Celtic development team for a year, he left to work under former Wigan boss Martinez in 2018, Belgium establishing themselves as the No.1 FIFA-ranked team in the world.

Hibs chief executive Ben Kensell said the search was “coming to a conclusion” and told fans to expect an update in the near future.

He added: “There has, unsurprisingly, been a lot of interest in the role and speculation in the media regarding the managerial position, and much of this has been wide of the mark.

“We have a clear vision for the football club. We want to acquire a manager who has an attacking mentality and is progressive and hungry for the opportunity to build something special here at a big club in Hibs.”

Since the surprise sacking of Ross last week, Gray has been taking charge of first-team affairs with help from Eddie May and Craig Samson, overseeing a draw with St Mirren and last night’s win over Dundee.

The former skipper, who lifted the Scottish Cup for Hibs in 2016, will now have the chance to lead the team to glory from the touchline when the season’s first piece of silverware goes up for grabs even if Maloney’s appointment is confirmed prior to the final.

Maloney was capped 47 times for Scotland and played over 150 games in two spells with Celtic, winning 11 trophies in his time at Parkhead, also winning the FA Cup with Wigan.

Should he get the job, it’s thought that he will bring in former Hibs captain Gary Caldwell as his assistant in a move which will go down well with supporters.

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