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Hibs chief: 'No pressure' in seeking coach at same time as Hearts

Leeann Dempster suspects both Edinburgh clubs will be eyeing up similar candidates.

Search: Leeann Dempster leads Hibs' recruitment of a new head coach
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Hibernian are in competition with city rivals Hearts for a new head coach, chief executive Leeann Dempster has admitted.

But the Easter Road chief insisted she feels no pressure over finding a new boss to lead her team at the same time as Ann Budge is seeking the man to replace Craig Levein in the Tynecastle dugout.

Hibs sacked Paul Heckingbottom and his assistant Robbie Stockdale on Monday after a run that has seen the team slide to just one point off the foot of the Premiership table.

Hearts parted ways with Levein just four days earlier with names such as Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson and former Sunderland boss Jack Ross being touted for either job in the capital.

Dempster said: "We are always in competition with clubs on the field and we will be in competition with clubs off the field when it comes to things like commercial and sponsorship too.

"It is coincidental that we are both in the market at the same time but I do not feel under pressure in that regard at all.

"I suspect that we will have similar and strong [candidates] who we are looking at but it will fall as it falls.

"We've got a number of people who we are speaking to at the moment and that process will play out."

Hibs fans had been growing increasingly frustrated with the team's inability to win matches and calls for Heckingbottom's removal has been growing in volume before and after last weekend's 5-2 defeat to Celtic.

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1442124-hibs-sack-paul-heckingbottom-after-nine-months-in-charge/ | default

On Thursday, Tracey Smith, supporters' representative on the Hibernian board, stepped down, citing abuse from the fans for her decision.

Dempster stressed that she and the board welcomed criticism in tough times but urged the club's followers to be mindful of overstepping the mark.

She said: "It had no effect on when Paul left at all. Supporters support their team and when things aren't going well they voice it in various ways.

"We make football decisions here - we don't make emotional decisions.

"Fans are allowed to criticise. Criticism is one thing but abuse is different so I think there is a fine line between how supporters express themselves.

"Criticism is fine as long as it is measured and appropriate. When it gets to the other side of it I think we really need to sense-check that and moderate it.

"Tracey was pretty direct in her statement about why that happened and I need to come back to this - supporters are the lifeblood of the club and they have been brilliant with me.

"When times are tough at the club you have to be resilient. Be critical, but be respectful, that's all we ask."

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