FORMER Celtic star Shaun Maloney is on the brink of being named new Hibs boss within the next 24 hours.

Remarkably, his first game in charge of the Edinburgh club could be against Ange Postecoglou’s Hoops in the Premier Sports League Cup Final at Hampden on Sunday.

Thirty-eight-year-old Maloney has already had hush-hush talks with Ben Kensell, the Easter Road club’s chief executive, and recruitment boss Ian Gordon, son of the club’s US-based owner Ron Gordon.

TALKING HEADS…Shaun Maloney chats to Belgium international boss Roberto Martinez.

Further negotiations are expected today before the Leith outfit name the successor to sacked Jack Ross while former skipper David Gray has been in charge for the 1-1 draw with St Mirren in Paisley on Saturday and the 1-0 home win over Dundee last night.

Maloney, who is currently working alongside Roberto Martinez at Belgium, could be joined in the capital by another ex-Celt Gary Caldwell, a one-time Hibs skipper.

Club supremo Kensell, speaking on the club’s official website, said: “I would like to assure all supporters that we are undergoing an incredibly thorough and strategic approach as we recruit a new manager.

“As a club you must continuously plan for the future and have a clear plan in place for every eventuality due to the fast-moving and ever-changing nature of the sport. This has allowed us to stay in control of this rigorous process.

“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.

GREEN FOR GO…former Celtic midfielder Shaun Maloney may return to Scottish football.

“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.

“In summary, our process has been robust, and there is clarity and a support plan for the manager we select that will help us achieve our long-term ambitions.”

Neil Lennon, the former Celtic gaffer who had two and a half years at Hibs before leaving in January 2019, was one of the names mentioned as a possible successor to Ross.

Former Liverpool and England striker Robbie Fowler, who was interested in the position, was another linked with the post, but it now looks as though the club have made Maloney, who had two stints as a player at Parkhead and who also held a coaching position for a short spell, has become their priority target.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report and the best action images from Ross County v Celtic this evening – only in your champion CQN.


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