Hibs bag Chippo

HIBS boss John Collins today revealed that veteran Moroccan midfield star Youseff Chippo will join his squad as they head to the south of Spain for a week-long training camp tomorrow.

Collins will run the rule over the 33-year-old central midfield player during the next few days before deciding whether to offer him a contract.

Chippo, who won more than 80 caps for his country, has spent the last few years playing in the Middle East with Al Sadd in Qatar but, on learning of his availability, Collins sounded out former Scotland team-mate Gary McAllister, who both played with and managed the Moroccan at Coventry City.

Having arrived at Highfield Road for a fee of around 1million from Porto in Portugal, Chippo became a highly-popular figure with the Coventry fans, seen as a hard-working midfielder alongside countryman Mustapha Hadji.

Collins has personal experience of Chippo's ability having faced him as Scotland suffered a shock 3-0 defeat to Morocco in the Stade Geoffrey-Guichard in St Etienne during the 1998 World Cup in France.

The Easter Road manager said: "He's obviously a very experienced player, someone who is a bit older than the players we have at the moment.

"I've spoken to Gary McAllister about him and Youseff will be joining us in Spain for a few days when we'll be able to get a look at him and see how his legs are."

Chippo, of course, will find himself at home with Hibs with countrymen Abdessalam Benjelloun and Merouane Zemmama part of Collins' squad.

One player who won't be boarding tomorrow's early-morning flight will be trialist Grant Smith, who played in last week's reserve match against Falkirk.

The 26-year-old midfielder, a free agent after being released by Dundee United last month, has continued to train with Hibs but will be left behind to play in the second string's game against St Mirren in Paisley on Tuesday.

Collins said: "Grant needs games so he'll stay in Edinburgh rather than come training in Spain."