Charlie on a Friday: Levein and Heckingbottom didn't prove capital in Edinburgh
Whilst most people in Scottish football would have possibly expected a Premiership managerial casualty before the turn of the year there would have been very few who would have predicted that both Hearts and Hibernian would wield the axe with less than a third of this season’s league matches played!
Paul Heckingbottom’s sacking on Monday coupled with Craig Levein’s departure last week is testimony to the awful starts both Edinburgh clubs have made in the league and for two of the country’s biggest clubs to be languishing in tenth and eleventh place must be hard to accept for the Easter Road and Gorgie Road faithful.
In total both clubs have played 22 SPFL games so far and won only two with Hibs’ solitary win coming on the opening day thanks to a last gasp goal against bottom club St Mirren.
Hearts have faired even worse and 8 points from a possible 33 was reason enough to see the back of former Scotland boss Levein who, in many Hearts’ supporter’s minds, should have gone prior to the season kicking off.
In Paul Heckingbottom’s case it is a prime example of how quickly opinion can change in our fickle game. After Neil Lennon’s departure he made an impressive start to his Hibs managerial career taking them quickly from eighth place to fifth and many were predicting that the Easter Road club may be hard placed to hold on to him given the potential suitors down south. However failure to win any of their post split fixtures was perhaps an indication of things to come and the recruitment of nine summer signings did not change his fortunes with few, if any, making the impact that both he and the fans would have expected.
Across Edinburgh Hearts owner Anne Budge has stated that the club will take their time before appointing their next boss and it is vital that they get it right. The development of the new stand at Tynecastle has made it an even more impressive venue and, having played and managed there, it is certainly one of the most atmospheric stadiums when full but the patience of the Hearts support is wearing thin and they will not put up with much more of the mediocrity that they have seen in recent times.
The bookies are already taking bets as to who will next occupy the two managerial posts and it is no surprise that former St Mirren boss Jack Ross,Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson and current Dundee F.C. Director of Football Gordon Strachan are amongst the favourites at both clubs given their success in the Scottish game.
On top of those three there will be a plethora of others interested in both jobs given the stature of the clubs involved allied to the fact that it wouldn’t take too much to improve their league standings and make them a force in our game once again.
In Hibernian’s case I would echo the sentiments of die hard fan and former player Paul Kane who, this week, advocated a return to Easter Road for John ‘Yogi’ Hughes.
John was previously manger of the club in 2009/10 and led them into the Europa League before a section of the support turned against him leading to his premature sacking the following season. It has surprised me that John has been out of the game for so long given his incredible achievements here in Inverness and perhaps the short unsuccessful stint at Raith Rovers shortly afterwards has worked against him but I can fully understand the logic in Paul Kane’s thinking given the style Hibs’ fans crave and the way John likes his teams to play.