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Our former midfielder John Collins is back in management after being announced as the new manager of Belgian First Division side Charleroi.

In a surprise appointment, Collins will replace Thierry Siquet and work alongside his number two at Hibs, Tommy Craig. He said:

I have discovered very motivated and enthusiastic people in charge here and a very ambitious club.

The former Scotland international was appointed as manager of Hibernian in October 2006 and enjoyed some success in his first managerial job. Collins, 40, guided Hibs to their first trophy in sixteen years by beating Kilmarnock 5-1 in the 2007 Scottish Cup final. Despite a massive row with his players, the board retained their faith in their young manager and Hibs finished sixth in the SPL.

It came as a surprise when Collins resigned from the Hibs job suddenly in December 2007, after being linked with the vacant Fulham manager’s job and┬áthe Scottish national team post. He landed neither, despite being the bookies favourite to take over at Craven Cottage after the sacking of Lawrie Sanchez. He was thought to have been interviewed by West Ham after the departure of Alan Curbishley before the Premier League side settled on Gianfranco Zola.

Collins was one of my favourite players during his time at Fulham, who rarely gave the ball away and had an eye for a pass. Deployed as a holding midfielder and then in central midfield by Jean Tigana, John was an exceptionally friendly individual, granting me an interview for my old sports paper Sportscene. He made 79 appearances for Fulham after joining from Everton in July 2000, scoring four goals – none better than the opening goal at Birmingham that set us on our way to a fine 3-1 win at one of our apparent rivals for the Division One title. He was also part of Tigana’s back-room staff as a player-coach.

It goes without saying that we wish him all the best in his new job.