Hibs manager hunt: Who is in the running for Easter Road hot seat?

Hibs are on the hunt for their sixth manager in five years after Lee Johnson's departure.

Hibs manager hunt: Who is in the running for Easter Road hot seat? SNS Group

As Hibernian prepare to travel to Birmingham to take on Aston Villa on Thursday night they are also on the hunt for a new manager after the departure of Lee Johnson at the weekend.

The Englishman was sacked following a poor run of results culminating in Saturday’s 3-2 home defeat to Livingston that leaves them rock-bottom of the Premiership after three games.

The next man in charge will be their sixth manager in the last five years and will be an appointment CEO Ben Kensell will be desperate to get right.

We take a look at the five favourites for the role and their chances of being asked to take over at the Edinburgh side.

Neil Lennon

Lennon is the current favourite for an Easter Road return. (SNS)

The Celtic legend remains a divisive figure among some quarters of Scottish football, but his success and CV as a manager can’t be denied and he is the current favourite for a return to Hibs.

No other living manager has won as many domestic trophies in Scottish football as the 52-year-old, who is also the only person in history to win a treble as a player and a manager.

During two spells in the dugout at Celtic Park, between 2010-2014 and 2019-2021, he won five top-flight titles, four Scottish Cups and a League Cup and remains the last manager to reach the last-16 of the Champions League with a Scottish club.

Before returning to Parkhead in 2019 he spent two and a half years at Easter Road where he won the Championship title, took them to a fourth-placed finish in the top-flight, where they were still in the running for second place with two games to go, and back-to-back Scottish Cup semi-finals.

His last season in Scottish football however ended in disaster when Celtic fell apart in their quest for ten in a row during the 2020-21 season that was played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Scott Brown

SNS Group

Another legendary Parkhead figure who has a bag-full of trophies from his time at Celtic who he joined from Hibernian in 2007.

He is currently managing down south in his second season with English League One side Fleetwood Town after guiding them to a mid-table finish last term.

The former Scotland skipper also led them to the fifth-round of the FA Cup with impressive victories over QPR and Sheffield Wednesday and was handed a bumper new deal in the summer.

However this season hasn’t started exactly how he would have planned and they sit second bottom of the league table with only one point from their opening five games.

He will be a face well known at Easter Road where he played 135 games between 2002 and 2007, after bursting onto the scene as a teenager, and played a key-role in their League Cup win in 2006 before securing a record fee between Scottish clubs of £4.5m when he moved to Glasgow.

Derek McInnes

Kilmarnock boss McInnes would represent a safe pair of hands (SNS)SNS Group

The current Kilmarnock boss got off to a flying start this season with wins over both sides of the Old Firm and a draw at Tynecastle.

He is another with vast experience in the top-flight of Scottish football and led Aberdeen to back-to-back second placed finishes and a League Cup win during an eight-year-stay at Pittodrie that came to an end in 2021.

The Dons reached another three finals during his tenure but were unlucky to come up against a rampant Celtic side who were sweeping all before them on their way to a quadruple treble.

He joined Killie when they were in the Championship and quickly got them back to the top-flight before consolidating that position last season as well as reaching a League Cup semi-final.

The former Rangers and Dundee United player would represent a safe pair of hands for Hibs if they were able to prize him away from Rugby Park and a Kilmarnock side that are currently five places above them in the table.

David Gray

'Sir' David Gray would be popular with the support.SNS Group

The Scottish Cup winning captain is a legendary figure among the Easter Road faithful as affectionately known as Sir David Gray in Leith.

He is currently in caretaker charge and Hibs could follow in the footsteps of Hearts, Aberdeen and Motherwell by appointing their next gaffer from inside the club.

The success, particularly of Barry Robson at Aberdeen and Stuart Kettlewell at Motherwell, might tempt the Easter Road side into taking the chance on a less experienced manager, but one who knows the club inside the out.

The 35-year-old is a hero amongst the support, after his winning goal against Rangers ended their 114-year wait for the Scottish Cup, and would certainly get the backing from the stands.

However a lack of experience compared to some of the other runners and riders might go against him and they look for a steady hand that can take them up the table quickly.

Stephen Robinson

Robinson has impressed at St Mirren. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)SNS Group

Stephen Robinson is another who is currently at another Premiership club and could be difficult to tempt away from St Mirren who he led to a top-six finish and a whisker away from going top of the league on Sunday.

He has an impressive body of work in the Scottish Premiership as well as experience and knowledge of the English transfer market through spells with Oldham and Morecambe.

The former Northern Ireland assistant manager led Motherwell to two cup finals and a third-place finish while also developing young players such as David Turnbull and Allan Campbell at Fir Park.

St Mirren were moments away from a seventh successive win and top spot in the league on Sunday before Bojan Miovski’s injury time equaliser in the 2-2 home draw with Aberdeen.

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