Ron Gordon defends Hibs decision to sack Shaun Maloney, makes Jack Ross admission and sets out next manager criteria


Hibernian owner Ron Gordon claimed he believes in continuity despite insisting that four months was ample time for Shaun Maloney to provide himself as manager.

The former Celtic midfielder left his role as Belgium assistant boss after being head-hunted by Hibs in December but was sacked on Tuesday after a double defeat by Hearts ended hopes of silverware and European football.

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Gordon argued the first team were heading in the wrong direction under Maloney after being consigned to a bottom-six finish after winning only eleven in the cinch Premiership in 2022.

Hibs will now look for a more experienced replacement to take charge ahead of next season.

In an online media conference, Gordon said: “We have been concerned about performances over the past couple of months.

“We have had lots of conversations with people at the club, including board members, and we had a special board meeting on Monday. We came to the conclusion, fairly decisively, that we needed to make a change.

“It was a collective decision. We have a lot of people on the board who are experienced and have been around the game for a long time.

Ron Gordon insists Hibs gave Shaun Maloney ‘plenty time’ despite sacking their manager after just 120 days in charge. (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)

“When you look at the results, it’s just really not acceptable for a club like Hibs.

“I have absolutely no doubt that we gave him enough time for us to see the kind of performance. The 19 games he managed, we saw some good, some not so good. I think we gave him plenty of time.

“There was risk and I expected bumps but I didn’t quite expect the slide. We are not headed in the right direction.

“We considered the possibility of giving him more time and I think there was a very insightful perception from one of the board members, if you could see the team progressing week to week, or individual players were getting better under his management, then you could say ‘you know what, we are headed in the right direction, he needs more time’.

“I think there was a general consensus that we weren’t seeing that kind of development at the club. There was a lack of confidence that we could turn it around.

“The conclusion was that if we make the decision now we have time to reset.”

Gordon was also accused of not giving Jack Ross, Maloney’s predecessor, the appropriate leeway to steer the club through a sticky patch in the league while preparing for a second consecutive cup final, having secured third place in his only full season in charge.

“I’m happy with the decision that we made but I happen to think Jack is an outstanding person and an outstanding leader,” the United States-based businessman said.

“Perhaps in retrospect we could review that but honestly I thought it was the right move at the time. I have to take responsibility for that decision and on a personal level it was a difficult one.”

Gordon agreed that the managerial instability was a problem and the “one thing I am most disappointed in myself.”

“We need to stabilize, that has to be a priority,” he added. “I believe in continuity, I believe you build by creating a great organization with stability and the minute you turn people over and it’s musical chairs, it’s not a good thing.

“That’s not a reason to not make a change if you don’t have it right. But I think it would be incumbent on the club to get it right and support a manager until we have success and continuity. That’s our goal.”

The chairman also accepts that Hibs “probably rushed” the appointment of Maloney and will change approach.

“We are looking for a certain style in terms of football, I want us to play an innovative, modern, attacking type of game, which I think is happening all over the world,” Gordon said. “I want Hibs to be on the leading edge.

“I think we do need a manager with some experience. It doesn’t have to be an old-timer with a ton of experience but I do think we need a manager with experience, that knows how to lead and can deliver results.

“We have a little bit more time. The process has already started. We have a list of potential candidates. We are reviewing that.

“We are going to be a little bit more methodical, putting together a sub-group of the board to also be involved in the vetting process.

“We are going to be a little bit more thorough than the last time. We are going to minimize the risk this time.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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