Ex-Hibs captain James McPake calls time on playing career

James McPake played for Hibs between 2012 and 2014
James McPake played for Hibs between 2012 and 2014
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Former Hibs captain James McPake has admitted defeat in his battle to return from a serious knee injury.

The 33-year-old Dundee defender, who scored in the 2012 Scottish Cup final as the Hibees lost 5-1 to city rivals Hearts, will head the Dees academy’s professional programme after a long struggle to overcome an injury he suffered in a Tayside derby.

The former Livingston and Coventry player suffered a fractured kneecap trying to block a shot from John Rankin against Dundee United on January 2, 2016 and has not played for the first team since, despite attempted comebacks with the Under-20s.

A Dundee club statement read: “What followed was an incredible show of mental and physical strength as James and the club did everything possible to get the defender back out on the park.

“Long days were spent in the gym and out on the training pitch as he battled to return to fitness. While attempting to recover from the injury McPake took on coaching duties at Dens and despite being close to a comeback a number of times, he has now decided to call it a day.

“A popular player both in the stands and the dressing room, James McPake will always be held in high regard by the Dundee support for commitment, dedication, leadership and giving 100% every time he pulled on the Dark Blue shirt and they will also be grateful for some wonderful memories and those goals against United. A true ‘Dark Blue Derby Hero’.”

The player wrote on Twitter: “I’ve gave it a right go and had some great times. Time for a new chapter.”

McPake joined Hibs on loan from Coventry City in January 2012 before making a permanent move that summer. He made a total of 51 appearances for Hibs – scoring three goals – before joining Dundee in 2014.