Butcher Axed From Hibs

Hibs have sacked boss Terry Butcher just seven months after taking over at Easter Road.

Butcher replaced Pat Fenlon in November but after a disastrous run of form, which saw the Leith side win just once in their last 18 league games, his side were relegated after a penalty shoot-out loss to Hamilton in the Scottish Premiership play-off final.

The former England captain met with new Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster and chairman Rod Petrie on Monday for make-or-break talks but 24 hours later the club announced they had relieved the 55-year-old of his duties.

Butcher was hired to clear up the mess created by Fenlon's disastrous last three months in charge.

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

The last of those was 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 would win only one more regular-season league clash - a 2-1 home win over Ross County in February - before a last-day defeat to Kilmarnock consigned them to the play-offs.

But despite taking a 2-0 first-leg lead at New Douglas Park, the top-flight side look petrified of their second-tier opponents.

Jason Scotland handed Accies an early lead early on in the Leith return before Tony Andreu sent the tie into extra-time with a 93rd-minute equaliser.

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

The day after their play-off defeat, Butcher released a swathe of players but former skipper James McPake - one of 15 players allowed to leave - insisted the first-team squad were not the only ones to blame.

The 29-year-old - who did not feature during the relegation run in, despite insisting he was fit to play after a back injury - said at the time: "There is no way that relegation is entirely the players' fault.

"I was told that I am not part of the manager's plans and I'm gutted about it.

"I am disappointed I did not get the chance to help us stay in the Premiership.

"I was 100 per cent fit and could have been contributing but the manager said he believed I wasn't fit enough.

"That's his opinion, it's not an opinion I agree with.''

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