Mowbray lands Hibs job

TONY Mowbray was today unveiled as the new manager of Scottish Premier League club Hibernian.And he plans to restore the glory days at Easter Road by maintaining the same philosophy that marked his four years as Ipswich's first team coach.

By Mel Henderson

TONY Mowbray was today unveiled as the new manager of Scottish Premier League club Hibernian.

And he plans to restore the glory days at Easter Road by maintaining the same philosophy that marked his four years as Ipswich's first team coach.

Mowbray, 40, was approached a few days ago and took time over the weekend to discuss the move with his wife, Amber, before making his decision.

He said: “I am delighted to be given this opportunity. I have spoken to many people about the club and I am well aware, from my time in Scotland, of the stature of this club and its tradition for entertaining and attacking football.

“I would like to let the supporters know that my philosophy is all about fast-flowing, passing football with a cutting edge.

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“That is what I will be working to instil here at Hibernian, and that is what I am determined our supporters will see.

“They want to win and they want to be entertained. It is our job to give them that.”

Mowbray replaces Bobby Williamson, who recently moved south to join First Division new boys Plymouth Argyle after just over two years in charge at Easter Road.

He departs with the best wishes of boss Joe Royle and his assistant Willie Donachie, whom he assisted for the past 17 months.

Royle said today: “Tony has been fantastic from day one. In a way it was an awkward situation when we arrived, because he had wanted the job himself.

“Maybe he would now admit the chance came a bit too early for him, but he has been thoroughly professional and a huge help to both of us.

“Willie and I have made a friend for life and he will be welcome at this club at any point in the future. He has been a terrific servant to Ipswich.”

Mowbray never made any secret of his desire to seek a career in management and was close to landing the Hartlepool post last year.

He was recently linked with the vacancy at Blackpool, but instead he is returning north of the border where he was a huge favourite with Celtic.

It was from the Parkhead giants that Town signed him in a £300,000 deal in October 1995 and he went on to make 152 appearances before turning to coaching.

He was a natural choice as club captain and then, in the summer of 1999, he was appointed first team coach at Ipswich, continuing to combine his new role with playing until the following year.

His last appearance came in the First Division play-off final victory over Barnsley at Wembley four years ago, when he headed Town's first goal as they fought back to win 4-2 and reclaim their place in the Premiership.

Mowbray had a brief stint as caretaker boss after the dismissal of George Burley and prior to Royle's arrival in October 2002.

Royle added: “Tony is honest and upright and he will be well remembered up there for his time at Celtic. He is high on coaching and is doing all his badges.

“In terms of management he may be a bit of an unknown but well done to the Hibs board for an appointment I feel sure they will not regret.

“Tony has served his apprenticeship with us and has been itching for this opportunity to come along. He goes with the best wishes of everyone at this club.”

Mowbray launched his career with local club Middlesbrough, moving to Celtic in a £1million deal in November 1991 and instantly striking up a rapport with the Parkhead fans who loved his wholehearted style.

It was Mowbray who invested the famous pre-match huddle, still going strong to this day, and he has consistently referred to his ambition to one day return to the Glasgow giants as manager.

But it is with Edinburgh outfit Hibs, who have had several lean years, that he will be looking to make an impact in management.

His appointment came as a shock to many, with ex-Coventry boss Eric Black and Clyde's Alan Kernaghan believed to be the front-runners.

The highly qualified coach emerged from a group of strong candidates following an exhaustive process in which extensive references were gathered on all candidates.

Chairman Ken Lewandowski said: “Everyone we have spoken to about Tony has given us glowing references on his abilities as a coach, about his philosophy on football, and about his character and integrity.

“One phrase kept shining through - Tony is a leader. He has five years of coaching experience at a major English club, some of that time in the Premiership and in a UEFA Cup campaign.

“He has a commitment to the development of young players, and helped bring through many talented players at Ipswich.

“As a player he spent his career at three big clubs, and competed at a high level with distinction, captaining those clubs.

“He has impressed us with his determination to succeed at Hibernian, with his commitment to improving standards on and off the pitch for our footballers.

“We are sure this appointment will be a happy and successful one both for Tony and for the club.”