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Butcher welcomes Malpas' company

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12 Nov 2013 20:47:01

Butcher welcomes Malpas' company

Terry Butcher admitted it was a wrench to leave high-flying Inverness, but he is entirely comfortable with the challenge of improving Hibernian because Maurice Malpas has gone with him.

Butcher signed a three-year contract at Hibernian days after Caley Thistle showed the scale of his task by moving into second place in the Scottish Premiership with a 2-0 win at Easter Road that was seventh-placed Hibs' fourth consecutive defeat.

Malpas cast doubt on whether he would follow immediately after masterminding the win as Butcher sat in the stand. But it became clear, when the pair were unveiled on Tuesday afternoon after watching training, that they would not be separated again.

Butcher and Malpas both led Motherwell to consecutive top-six finishes together but struggled apart. Butcher had short-lived spells at Sydney and Brentford after leaving Fir Park in 2006 and Malpas' attempts to go it alone at Motherwell and then Swindon did not fare well.

But they excelled again after being reunited at Inverness in 2009, leading the club back up at the first attempt after being unable to keep them in the top flight, and then coming within 90 minutes of a European spot last season.

Butcher admitted he missed his friend and colleague, who he first worked with at Dundee United, in Australia and west London.

The former England captain said: "The success we have had is when we have been together. He is a great guy and a great mate, a brilliant coach and also someone that can stand back and tell me to calm down sometimes.

"And someone I can trust entirely because I go up in the stand sometimes. Sometimes I'm banished to the stand, sometimes I'm suspended from the ground, but I can trust him to take the team well.

"He is really a manager in his own right technically, but we work very well together. At this moment in time we are living together too."

Butcher is Hibernian's sixth manager in seven years but he does not view the move from an Inverness team who face Hearts in the League Cup semi-finals as a major gamble.

"There's always a risk but I've got Maurice with me," said Butcher, who turned up at Easter Road on Saturday wearing a flat cap and long coat. "When I've moved on to other clubs, I didn't have Maurice with me.

"(Chief scout) Steve Marsella will be joining us as well. I didn't have him before, so we come as a team. It's not quite Ocean's 11, it's more Ocean's Three, so we hope to bring one or two others as well.

"But first thing is getting the players to work harder and know our methods. They all think I'm mad, after Saturday, with my attire. They think Victor Meldrew is coming along. Hopefully they were disappointed, it's not quite Victor Meldrew.

"We want to make the players enjoy it and Maurice certainly does that in terms of training. He doesn't suffer fools gladly, if they are not doing it he will tell them.

"But it's not just about hard work, hard work, hard work, hard work, we want them to have a bit of fun."

Butcher admitted it had been tough leaving Inverness.

The 54-year-old said: "It's been a difficult week, it really has, because of what we have left behind up there. We left some fabulous players and it's hard to say goodbye to that.

"We have really enjoyed ourselves. It's been nearly five years up there.

"It was really bizarre for me on Saturday to watch the team play. If you look at the way Caley Thistle played on Saturday, that's the way we want to get Hibs playing from now on."

Meanwhile, Hibs chairman Rod Petrie brushed off questions on whether he felt pressure to get the appointment right after such a turnover of managers. Butcher's predecessor, Pat Fenlon, quit after less than two years in the post.

"We have gone for an experienced guy because that's what we think we need at the moment," Petrie said.

"We have got a fantastic £5million training centre, we have a 20,000-seater UEFA compliant stadium, we have a very good talented squad of players and now we have an experienced management team to take them forward.

"So this time round getting an experienced guy who knew the scene in Scotland and was able to hit the ground running was very important to us.

"He's a leader of men. He knows the game inside out. He's a winner. Absolutely, fundamentally, he's a winner."


PA

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