Hibs: Paul Heckingbottom 'exceeding expectations' after unbeaten league run

Hibernian chief executive Leeann Dempster and head coach Paul Heckingbottom
Leeann Dempster says Paul Heckingbottom is looking for squad continuity

Paul Heckingbottom has "probably exceeded our expectations" since taking over as head coach, Hibernian chief executive Leeann Dempster has said.

Hibs, now fifth, are unbeaten in the Premiership since the 41-year-old Englishman was appointed in February.

"When he came in, the big task for us was to get into the top six," Dempster said. "It was not going to be a good season for us if we hadn't.

"But it was far from certain that that could happen."

Hibs, whose only defeat under Heckingbottom came in the Scottish Cup against holders Celtic, has presided over six league wins and three draws that secured that top-half finish.

Dempster told Hibs TV that their recent Edinburgh derby victory away to Hearts was an additional "brilliant boost for everyone".

"It's been a really good start for him and hopefully it is just a wee window of what is to come," she said ahead of the next derby at Easter Road on Sunday.

"I don't think it could have started any better - and not just on a performance perspective."

Dempster said Hibs' squad had responded well to the former Barnsley and Leeds United boss since he arrived as a replacement for Neil Lennon.

"His approach at the training centre with the players is exactly what we were looking for and I think we're reaping the benefits of that," she said.

"He has brought in some new things around sports analysis and brought some of his own energy and the feedback is great."

Hibs this week agreed new four-year contracts with captain David Gray and fellow defender Darren McGregor despite the pair being in their 30s.

Meanwhile, midfielder Scott Allan has agreed a deal to return to Easter Road at the end of his Celtic contract in the summer and Dempster said the club and head coach were keen to have "a bit more consistency within the squad".

"There will be some changes - there are always changes - but hopefully we are not going to see a huge turnaround," she added.

"The squad has probably been a bit neat in terms of numbers this season and we probably need to add a bit of depth to that."

Top Stories

Around Scottish sport