Hibs set to land ex-Rangers kid - but he won't be for the first team yet

Hibs are edging closer to a deal that will bring former Rangers defender Kyle McClelland to the club.

But, initially, the Northern Ireland Under-21 player is being recruited for Hibs’ development squad and is not expected to be an integral part of manager Lee Johnson’s first-team plans this term.

Looking to tie him up on a long-term contract, the hope is that he can make the advancements needed to eventually step up.

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The 20-year-old, who was behind Leon King in the Ibrox pecking order, turned down the chance to broker a new agreement with the Europa League finalists when his current deal expired this summer, believing he will be able to make the breakthrough at Premiership level sooner as a Hibs player.

Hibs are close to landing former Rangers kid Kyle McClelland.Hibs are close to landing former Rangers kid Kyle McClelland.
Hibs are close to landing former Rangers kid Kyle McClelland.

However, despite being impressed by his potential, Hibs say there is still work to be done before he is ready for that level.

Until now, McClelland has been predominantly utilised in the Lowland League, as part of Rangers B team. He also had a loan spell at Falkirk last season, where he made eight appearances for the League One side.

But Hibs have made it clear that they want to place a greater emphasis on developing talent. Recognising the value in honing the potential of up and coming players to bolster their own ranks or make a profit on the open market, a lot of work has been carried out behind the scenes.

And while it is not anticipated that McClelland will walk into the Hibs first team, there could be occasions throughout the campaign when injuries or suspensions would allow him to push forward his case for inclusion.