Hibs confirmed Under-18 league champions and will play European football next season
Hibs have finally been declared winners of the CAS Elite Under-18 League, nearly three weeks after playing their last game.
Gareth Evans’ side were top on goal difference, tied on 63 points with Rangers but with five games in hand to the Gers’ one – and the Evening News understands that the Capital club were confirmed victors on a points-per-game basis.
The season was originally due to finish on May 17, which would have forced the youngsters to play 11 games in 21 days after a mixture of Covid-19 outbreaks and other issues left them with a backlog of games to fulfil but following discussions with Hampden chiefs the campaign was extended until May 27 to lighten the load on the players.
But no games were played by any teams after Friday May 13, with Hibs’ last encounter a 1-1 draw with rivals Hearts at the Oriam.
Scheduled matches the following week against Motherwell and Hearts again were both called off, but it was announced on Monday afternoon that despite just three of the nine teams completing their full complement of matches, the season was complete.
The youngsters finish the campaign with 19 wins, six draws, and two defeats from 27 games, with 66 goals scored and just 19 conceded.
Hibs’ title success means they compete in the the UEFA Youth League next season, with the ninth edition of the continental competition getting under way in early September. Hibs will learn their opposition when the draw is made in late August.
A total of 64 teams will compete for the title with clubs split into two paths – Champions League and domestic champions.
With Hibs confirmed as Scotland’s representative in the competition, they will enter the domestic champions section and have to navigate two rounds of two-legged knockout ties, with the eight winners of the second-round progressing to the one-legged play-off stage in early February next year.
The final rounds will be held at the Centre Sportif de Colovray Nyon in France, opposite UEFA’s headquarters.
In last season’s edition, champions Rangers saw off Hammarby of Sweden and Bulgarian side Septemvri Sofia before a narrow defeat by Sevilla in the play-off round, with Portuguese side Benfica lifting the trophy after seeing off Red Bull Salzburg in the final.