Hibs chairman brands backlash to Malky Mackay appointment 'depressing' and admits fan reaction expected

Hibs chairman Malcolm McPherson has claimed the backlash to Malky Mackay being appointed sporting director has been "depressing."

On Tuesday, the Easter Road club announced the former Ross County man would be taking up the role. It came hours after the sacking of Nick Montgomery as head coach and following a full club review which established creating the role was necessary and identified Mackay as the man to fill it.

The 52-year-old comes with baggage having been accused of misconduct when Cardiff manager by sending offensive text messages to colleagues and admitting to being behind some of the texts that were insensitive to some cultures.. He underwent training courses with Show Racism the Red Card but some supporters are still opposed to him being given such a prominent position at their club.

Ultras group Block Seven made their stance clear, saying Mackay had "no place" at the club while Hibs Pride and Hibernian Women Supporters Alliance made similar statements. The man himself yesterday broke his silence and asked for fans to judge him on the job he does.

McPherson is confident that will happen and feels that his new man should be allowed to rehabilitate and rebuild his life.

“The conduct, and subject matter, of what happened has been criticised. It’s there, it happened, but nobody is damned forever," McPherson told Hibs Observer. "Malky has gone through a long period of rehabilitation. Others in Scottish and English football have been through similar processes and I believe he’s conscious of what happened, he’s conscious of the error of his ways, and has put himself through a process that persuaded Wigan, the SFA, FIFA, UEFA, and Ross County - all bodies with reputations to look after - that he was a person worth employing.

“I feel that people have to be allowed to continue their lives. Everybody is capable of making a mistake and people’s attitudes can change over time, and we’re looking at something that happened over ten years ago. You’re a very different person ten years on and I don’t think anyone should think a person shouldn’t be allowed to work again, like a social pariah. "

The chairman admits he foresaw the reaction and claims he understands it but still finds it "depressing."

He added: “I wasn’t surprised by the fans’ reaction, it’s what I expected. I’m not a great follower of social media, but I do find it a bit depressing that people have such extreme views, and not just on football. There’s room to question if Malky has changed, or if he has moved on, and that’s happened. But just to damn somebody, on the basis of what you’ve looked up on the internet, seems a little bit sad.

“But I understand it. It’s topics that are current, and that people have very strong views on, and I understand that. But I think rehabilitation is possible, and his career from that point has been one where people have met him, worked with him, and decided that it was appropriate that he was part of their organisation. I hope that what he does for this club on the footballing side will be the main focus, and I believe that will happen.

“We want to change because we haven’t been successful on the footballing side of things, and Malky will have a big part to play in the reconstruction of the footballing side. If you ask the players at Ross County, or Cardiff, or the people who worked with him at the SFA, they are incredibly positive about his ability to conduct himself and be able to affect change, which I think he did quite significant at the SFA.

“His performance at Ross County was astonishing, in terms of getting into the top six with the budget he had. Now he’s in situ he is able to look through the whole footballing operation and come up with his own conclusions as to how it should look, and for our part, we have to listen because he has the experience. He knows how to develop players and while HTC is a wonderful facility, things can always be better."