Sunday 21 January 2018

Terry Butcher set for talks to become new Hibs manager

Inverness manager Terry Butcher
Inverness manager Terry Butcher

Gavin McCafferty

Terry Butcher has been cleared to speak to Hibernian - but Inverness have vowed to fight to keep their manager.

Caley Thistle confirmed they had received an official approach from their Scottish Premiership rivals, who have been looking for a new manager since Pat Fenlon quit on Friday, and accepted Butcher's desire to speak to Hibs chairman Rod Petrie.

But they hope he remains loyal to the club as he did in January when he rejected a more lucrative offer to take over at Championshuip club Barnsley.

Inverness and Hibs meet at Easter Road on Saturday but it is unclear whether Butcher will even be there as the Edinburgh club stated they had asked Jimmy Nicholl to continue as caretaker manager for the game.

Inverness chairman Kenny Cameron, who angrily hit out at reports that claimed the move was a done deal on Monday, said: "Terry has been informed of the situation and has expressed an interest in meeting with Hibs officials. The club has, with great reluctance, granted him permission to do so.

"We will, however, continue to do everything possible to ensure that Terry remains our manager."

Butcher last week led Caley Thistle to their second League Cup semi-final against Hearts in two seasons and they sit third in the league, three places above Hibs.

Cameron said: "Given our current position in the SPFL and the fact that once again we have a cup semi-final to look forward to, it is inevitable that if any managerial positions arise, our manager will be on the wanted list.

"We have a game on Saturday and it's important that our club's focus is on taking three points to maintain our challenge at the top of the league.

"As with the Barnsley approach in January, we will be making no further comment until we're fully aware of the outcome of discussions."

Hibs insisted their approach had been made in the correct manner and do not look set to push for Butcher to take charge of their team for Saturday's game, despite bidding to secure the former England and Rangers captain in the long term.

A club statement read: "Hibernian FC today confirmed that following an approach, chairman to chairman in the appropriate manner, permission has been received late this afternoon to speak to Terry Butcher regarding the vacant managerial position at the club.

"Hibernian FC is grateful to Inverness CT FC for granting permission.

"Both clubs have an important league match on Saturday with three vital points at stake.

"Chairman Rod Petrie met Jimmy Nicholl at the Hibernian Training Centre this morning and confirmed that Jimmy and the backroom staff should prepare the team this week and take the match on Saturday."

Hibernian's approach was predicted within hours of Fenlon's resignation in the wake of their League Cup derby defeat by Hearts.

Butcher led Caley Thistle to a fourth-placed finish last season, just missing out on the Europa League when an under-strength team lost to Ross County on the final day.

The 54-year-old took charge of Caley Thistle in January 2009 and won the First Division title at the first time of asking the following season after being unable to prevent the Highland side dropping out of the top flight.

Butcher earlier had a successful spell in charge of Motherwell, who he led to successive top-six finishes, before shorter, less happy stints at Sydney and Brentford. Both the latter roles were taken on without his assistant at Motherwell and Inverness, Maurice Malpas.

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