Craig and Proctor will stay at Hibs, says Collins

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The Independent Football

The new manager of Hibernian, John Collins, has confirmed Tommy Craig will be his assistant at Easter Road, while first-team coach Mark Proctor has also been invited to stay.

Collins and Craig worked together during the ex-Newcastle United player's first spell as number two at Easter Road - under John Blackley in the 1980s. Craig was also at Celtic Park when the 38-year-old became the Glasgow club's first £1m player in 1990. Now Collins, who has signed a three-year deal at Hibs, will lean on the experienced Craig as he takes his first steps in management - but is promising to be his own man.

Collins said: "Tommy Craig will be on the bench with me as my number two. I like to think I have picked up something from all the managers I had as a player, none more so than my number two. He was my first coach at Hibs when I was a kid and guided me in the right direction before I followed him to Celtic."

Proctor, who took over temporarily after Tony Mowbray's move to West Bromwich Albion, will retain his place in the backroom team. The former Darlington assistant manager had been viewed as a potential candidate for the vacancy after Mowbray left for The Hawthorns with his assistant, Mark Venus.

But the former Hibs, Celtic, Everton and Fulham midfielder insists Proctor's experience will also prove invaluable in his first tentative steps into management.

Collins added yesterday: "I have spoken to Mark and I would like him to stay on. I have done some research, Tony employed him because he is a good coach and a good man. Mark has indicated we will run with it and see how it goes."

Meanwhile, Collins has vowed to continue the work carried out by former Celtic team-mate Mowbray. Collins said: "It is where it all started for me as a player and I look forward to starting my management career here. We have a good group of young players, a good stadium and the supporters have come back in their numbers. I am following a manager who has done a great job, and, hopefully, I can take the club on."

Kevin Thomson, the Hibs captain, has revealed red-card victim Chris Killen apologised to his team-mates after turning from saint to sinner against Aberdeen when Hibs lost 2-1 on Monday night in the SPL.

The New Zealand international put Hibs into an early second-half lead at Pittodrie, only to see Lee Miller and an injury-time goal from Scot Severin nullify his effort. Killen was dismissed shortly after Miller's equaliser, and Thomson believes the 25-year-old's misdemeanour was a turning point in the match.

He said: "We are disappointed with Chris getting sent off, but I think he knows that he made silly challenges and paid the price for them. He apologised for that."