Malky Mackay explains Hibs transfer recruitment shift as Elie Youan future addressed

Malky Mackay insists he’s ready to sort Hibs’ ropey recruitment record with a Euro-style system he hopes will have a 70 per cent strike rate.

A scattergun approach to the transfer market in recent years has meant too many signings haven’t worked – leading ultimately to the sackings of Nick Montgomery, Lee Johnson and Shaun Maloney. But new sporting director Mackay, who began work this month and made the appointment of David Gray as head coach his first piece of business, is confident the new regime can get it right more often than not.

A process he first experienced as a young manager at Watford is set to be rolled out in Leith, one which Mackay also used as Performance Director at the SFA in identifying anglo talents such as Che Adams and Scott McTominay. Mackay said: “I worked with a sporting director at Watford, John Stephenson, a long time ago where there was a process and a really defined way of recruiting players. All we’re trying to do is take the risk factor down in terms of players not working. You want there to be a strong chance that, out of 10, seven work out.

“There are always going to be one or two that don’t for one reason or another but you don’t want it to be two out of 10 that work. I was lucky I was taught about a recruitment process many years ago.

“It was something I lifted across to Cardiff, took to the Scottish FA where we built a recruiting department and there are now talent ID courses across Scotland, there are a lot of people learning about it. It’s something that sporting directors on the continent have been doing for 25 years.

“We’ll get to a point where there are a number of players for a position who we can afford, who we can possibly get, who will work well in our team or has potential whether we’re signing them as a starter, back-up, or a youngster who’s come through our academy.

“Once we get to that point a group of us including David Gray will talk through the options. Nothing will be getting done at this football club without David’s complete involvement.”

Former Blackpool defender Marvin Ekpiteta became Hibs third signing of the summer following ex-MK Dons stopper Warren O’Hora and Club Brugge keeper Josef Bursik who has arrived on a season-long loan. Mackay said: “We have to make sure we bring in the correct character. It’s certainly something we’ve been needing – more leadership in the team.

“We’ll make sure that more often than not, the players who come in are going to be of benefit to Hibs on a longer-term basis by showing their skills, pushing us up the league and getting us to finals and semi-finals.”

Easter Road winger Elie Youan is attracting interest from France but so far no offer has been received to match Hibs’ £2.5million valuation. Mackay said: "He’s our player, he’s an asset to the club and continues to be until such times as we receive an offer that both he and we feel is the correct one for him to leave the club.”

Meanwhile, Gray reckons getting the old band back together as his backroom team can help get Hibs singing on the park again. The new head coach has brought former captain Liam Craig back from Queen’s Park as assistant while Craig Samson returns from Aberdeen as goalkeeping coach. It’s all adding to a positive vibe as Hibs head to Holland to step-up pre-season preparations.

Gray said: “The players are the most important part of a football club and we need to try to get the best out of them. It’s our job as coaches to maximise that.”