Dempster keen to rebuild Hibs

  • Last Updated: June 10 2014, 18:57 BST

Hibernian chief executive Leeann Dempster insists she has not sacked Terry Butcher in a bid to placate protesting fans.

Terry Butcher: Leaves Hibernian
Terry Butcher: Leaves Hibernian

The former England skipper was relieved of his duties just seven months after taking over at Easter Road.

The 55-year-old was brought in to replace the hapless Pat Fenlon but somehow made an even bigger mess of the situation in Leith as his side ended the season being relegated from the Scottish Premiership.

However, Butcher's dismissal will not quell angry supporters calling for the head of chairman Rod Petrie.

Around 1500 fans staged a demonstration outside Easter Road on Saturday, but Dempster insists that was not on her mind as she made the call to axe the manager.

She told Sky Sports News: "Let's be honest, I wouldn't say we have been in a state of flux over the last couple of weeks after the relegation but we have not been able to achieve anything because we had other things that we had to concentrate on.

"But we can now turn our attention to football. That's what I said to the fans on Saturday and that's what I want to do.

"We have got a good platform here and a great opportunity to approach [the rebuilding of the club] in a different way. Whether some of the more sceptical supporters in the group believe that or not remains to be seen. I can only demonstrate what I want to do here."

Butcher replaced Irish predecessor Fenlon in November but after a disastrous run of form, which saw the Leith side win just once in their last 18 league games, they were handed a do-or-die clash with Hamilton in the play-off final.

Despite leading 2-0 from the New Douglas Park first leg, they blew up spectacularly in the Leith return before bowing out of the top-flight on penalties.

Butcher met with Dempster and Petrie on Monday for make-or-break talks but 24 hours later the club 's board "unanimously agreed" it was time to sack the 55-year-old.

In a statement posted on the club's website, Dempster added: "I have to say that we all regret that this decision had to be made, but during conversation it became clear that a different approach was needed.

"Sadly, for a variety of reasons and perhaps including unfortunate timing, it hasn't worked out for Terry here. That is disappointing for all concerned. I am genuinely saddened that we have had to take this tough decision.

"It may have taken longer than we all would have liked but I felt it was appropriate that we met properly and had a full discussion before any decision was made.

"Now we need to move forward and act to bring in a new manager with the aim of getting us promoted back to where Hibernian belongs, in the top league of Scottish football, from a uniquely competitive Championship.

"Our first aim must be to try to win the league and gain promotion automatically.

"The search now begins to find and appoint the next manager, and while we will try to keep supporters updated regarding the process as much as we can, I know they will understand that we need to be professional in all that we do.

"Unfortunately assistant manager Maurice Malpas is abroad on holiday at present and I want to meet him on his return to explain the situation at the club."

Butcher was hired to clear up the mess created during Fenlon's final few weeks in charge.

He took over a side in seventh place on November 12 and initially results were positive, with four wins from his first seven games in charge.

The last of those was a 2-1 derby success over Edinburgh rivals Hearts - their first against the administration-hit Jambos in three attempts - but instead of building on that victory, Hibs nosedived.

They could win only one more regular-season league clash - a 2-1 home victory over Ross County in February - before a last-day defeat to Kilmarnock consigned them to their fateful play-offs with Accies.

Kevin Thomson and Jason Cummings' missed spot-kicks in the shoot-out ultimately cost the Edinburgh side, who will now play Championship football next season for the first time in 15 years.