Just 4.8 miles separate Christie Gillies Park in Muirhouse with Easter Road by road, and the Scottish Lowland League side have added their support to the growing number of clubs forming close ties with Hibs to develop players.
English Premier League side Brighton, Scottish League Two outfit Stenhousemuir, and USL Championship team Charleston Battery in the USA are already working with the club and the latest to sign up will have benefits for both teams in the city.
“We have spent a considerable amount of time and effort developing our strategic partnerships over the last 12 months and it would be great to see a young player’s journey progress from Civil Service to Stenhousemuir, to Charleston Battery, to the Hibernian first team and Brighton in the EPL in coming years,” said Hibs sporting director Graeme Mathie.
“We have utilised the loan system as part of our player development strategy for some time now and are convinced that early exposure to men’s football is key to the transition of young players from the Academy into the professional game.
“Civil Service Strollers have been an excellent partner for us for a number of seasons and we are delighted to formalise the relationship.”
The Strollers sit outside the SPFL proper in the fifth tier of Scottish football, but have ambitions to develop both at youth and senior level, and the existing close relationship between the clubs has already seen additional benefits for other partner clubs too, even before being formalised this week.
Jayden Fairley, Jack Brydon and Callum Yeats all progressed from CSS and on to Hibs’ original strategic partners in Scotland, Stenhousemuir. They earned senior league experience at Ochilview – and it is hoped more can follow now the pathway has been established.
Keith Stewart, the Lowland League club secretary, added: “Civil Service Strollers are delighted to have the opportunity to work alongside Hibernian and to have a part in a player’s progress to better themselves.
“We have always embraced the need for improvement and this partnership is a win-win for the clubs, young players and the future of our game.
“We would like to thank our manager Gary Jardine, Hibernian’s Graeme Mathie and the development team for their hard work setting this up and giving us the chance to work with such talented players.”
Strategic partnerships have already seen players move between Hibs and Charleston, and to Stenhousemuir for development and experience.
Strollers head coach Jardine has already played a role in the development of some of Hibs’ youngsters too, having worked with some on loan at Christie Gillies Park, and previously in his time as Edinburgh City manager.
Graeme Mathie added: “Gary has shown a willingness and desire to play young players and all Hibernian players he has worked with over the years have been far better equipped for the demands of professional football having spent time working with him.”
Strollers continue their pre-season preparations with a home friendly against Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday, and kick off their Lowland League campaign at Dalbeattie Star on July 17.