Hibs Sign James McPake On Two Year Deal
The 28 year old centre half spent four months with the Easter Road club last season, after signing on loan from Coventry City during the January transfer window. He was immediately installed as captain against Rangers at Ibrox, but his day ended with a debatable red card as Hibs eventually lost 4-0.
After returning to the team, McPake recorded 15 appearances, captaining the team in every match, and displaying the leadership qualities which were much lacking in the squad. His performances made him a firm favourite amongst the supporters who have inundated forums demanding that the club pull out all the stops to get him back. His last match was the cup final defeat to Hearts, during which he scored the only Hibs goal and was one of the few players who received pass marks that day.
Rumours that he would attend yesterday’s home strip launch proved incorrect, leaving many fans worried that the proposed move may not take place, but their fears were unfounded as he put pen to paper earlier today.
McPake hails from Bellshill near Glasgow and started his professional career with Livingston, chalking up 100 appearances and scoring six goals. He was made club captain under former Hibs coach Mark Proctor, and the West Lothian club valued him highly, turning down bids from Plymouth Argyle and St Mirren.
In 2009 he moved south to Coventry City where he scored once in 38 starts before a serious back injury which required surgery curtailed his career.
After his successful loan spell with Hibs last season, McPake received an unexpected call up by former Shamrock Rovers boss Michael O’NeiLl for Northern Ireland’s friendly against the Netherlands. Despite the 6-0 defeat, McPake’s performance at the heart of the defence received positive comments.
Hibs boss Pat Fenlon was delighted with the capture and told Hibs TV: “It’s absolutely fantastic that we’ve been able to bring James back to the club on a permanent basis. We have had to be patient and persistent but all the work has been worthwhile.
“Every team needs a strong leader and James is my captain – he leads by example and sets himself high standards.
“He made a really positive impact during his loan spell and moving forward he will play a major role in the on-going development of the club over the next few seasons.
“At the core of every successful team are strong-minded competitors and James will also help to bring on the younger players in the squad.
“With the arrivals of Tim and now James, we have started to make good progress towards rebuilding the squad and bringing in the right characters.
“There is much more to be done and we will keep working away trying to secure our other targets.”
McPake says he is delighted to be heading back to Easter Road, and shortly after signing, he posted a ‘Welcome to Edinburgh – this is home’ photograph via twitter, delighting his many followers.
McPake said: “It’s an honour to play for Hibs again. From day one, I felt at home at the club and I developed a special relationship with the supporters.
“I’m excited to be part of what will be a new-look Hibernian team and I’m looking forward to playing my part in bringing success back to this football club.”
McPake is Fenlon’s second close season signing following the capture of Irish defender Tim Clancy from Motherwell.