Hibs will have a team playing in the East of Scotland League next season after the current 26 clubs unanimously approved the Easter Road side’s application to join at their annual meeting.
Andrew Waddell, vice-chairman of the Seniors’ set-up, today confirmed that Hibs had been successful in their bid and will start in the league’s bottom tier, the First Division, which already includes Berwick Rangers’ reserve team.
Waddell revealed Hibs’ application had been enthusiastically welcomed, saying: “The motion was put to the meeting and it would be fair to say it was a unanimous decision of the league. All the clubs were very happy to embrace Hibs’ inclusion and are looking forward to their participation.
“Berwick Rangers reserves have done very well this year, getting to a cup final with us. They appear to have enjoyed it and hopefully Hibs will do so as well.”
Waddell stressed that Hibs would not encounter any age restrictions, meaning Pat Fenlon could give vital game time to first-team members, either out of favour or returning from injury, as well as youth players. He said: “They can play 17-year-olds, first-team players, whoever is a registered player, with them which gives them total flexibility as to who can participate in competitive matches.”
Hearts have also expressed an interest in joining the Senior ranks but Waddell revealed: “There was only one application for a new position.”
Meanwhile, Hibs skipper James McPake has refuted rumours that he is facing an operation and possibly retirement, having been ruled out of the Capital club’s last three SPL matches and the Scottish Cup final as he again battled a back injury. Insisting he’s targeting a return to action at the start of the new season, he said: “I’m aiming to be back fit and training when pre-season starts, so that I am up to speed when the matches start.”
As to the gossip that he could be hanging up his boots, he said: “Some friends have been in touch with me recently about these rumours, but they aren’t true – I haven’t had an operation and I am not planning to have one. My main aim now is to put everything I can into making Hibernian successful next season and give our inspirational supporters something to cheer about.
“It promises to be an exciting season for Hibs, with the Europa League qualifiers, and we will also be looking to build on last season in the SPL. I’m enjoying a brief holiday at the moment before the start of pre-season and I’m also looking forward to beckoning a dad for the first time in August.
“It was a massive disappointment to miss out on the cup
final. I thought I’d done enough but in the week leading up to it I experienced another set-back. Now I am focusing on coming back stronger.”
Meanwhile, Hibs have confirmed their final warm-up match before their Euro adventure will be against Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park on Friday, July 12, kick-off 7.45pm.
n Hibs Under-20s will play at Almondvale next season.