JC backs off

CAMEROONIAN defender Thierry Gatheussi will not be joining Hibs after talks between the club and the player collapsed.

However, Easter Road boss John Collins has already lined up two mystery trialists who play on the right side of defence and will run the rule over them this week.

FC Sete full-back Gatheussi impressed the Hibs coaching staff at a training camp in Austria recently and also turned in a solid showing in a friendly victory over Brechin.

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Collins had hoped to persuade the player to put pen to paper on a deal in the Capital, although he conceded in yesterday's Evening News that the time the 25-year-old was taking to decide on his future was beginning to frustrate the club.

And Collins has now decided to turn his attentions elsewhere as he admitted he is still looking to add "two or three" new faces to his squad before he takes his side across Edinburgh to face Hearts on the opening day of the season.

"That's dead now," Collins said, when asked how talks were progressing. "It's disappointing it took so long for him to get back to us but that's football.

"But we have a couple of trialists for the same position coming in to have a look at so we'll move on and see how they do. We'll have a closed door match towards the end of the week."

Meanwhile, Collins challenged youngsters Lewis Stevenson and Ross Chisholm to stake their claim for regular inclusion in the first team next season after Stephen Glass agreed to join Dunfermline on a two-year deal.

The former Newcastle player enjoyed a successful loan spell at the Pars towards the end of last term and, after being told he was unlikely to command a regular starting place at Easter Road despite having a year to run on his contract, Glass has opted to join the Fifers full-time.

Glass played 14 times for the East End Park outfit last term. St Mirren were also understood to be interested in securing Glass although it is thought that the security of a two-year contract swayed the players' decision.

Glass played more than 100 times for the Hibees after being signed from Watford in July 2003 and featured for the final time in a 5-0 friendly thrashing of Stirling Albion at the weekend.

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Yet despite turning in a starring performance it was not enough to convince Collins to retain him.

Collins said: "Stephen has been a terrific professional but he's 31 now and I couldn't guarantee him a place in the team or on the bench now and he wanted first-team football.

"We have to respect that and, of course, we fully understand that. Dunfermline are getting a good footballer. But we have young Lewis Stevenson and Ross Chisholm in there that can do a job and these are young players that have their whole careers ahead of them and are only going to get better.

"We don't want to stall their progress. Lewis was a regular towards the end of last season but this year will be another test for him because everyone knows what he can do now.

"Ross Chisholm also played a few games and did very well and it's a big season for him. He's got ability and a good attitude and they've both proved they can handle Premier League football.

"But it's only six months and the challenge now for them is to make sure that they keep getting better as the second season can often be harder."