Hibs net a ‘gem’ in Clayton

HIBERNIAN boss John Collins believes he's snapped up a real gem in Clayton Donaldson.

The former Scotland midfielder says he still sees "plenty of room for improvement" when he links up with the 20-goal striker at Easter Road in the summer.

Donaldson will join Collins' Scottish Premier League squad after the pre-contract agreement on a three-year deal was struck with Hibs chairman Rod Petrie over the weekend.

Of his new acquisition, Collins said: "Clayton has pace, lots of pace. He has scored goals in the past couple of seasons, albeit at a lower level. He is two-footed, but there is plenty of room for improvement as he is still just a young lad."

Although the pre-contract agreement has been signed, Hibs still wanted Donaldson on board as soon as possible. The club offered £50,000 to City to release the player so he could start playing for the club immediately.

But City refused to be tempted by the cash and Donaldson will now see out his contract at KitKat Crescent before making his way to Scotland. Hibs currently lie in fifth place in the SPL table and are still in the Scottish FA Cup. They travel to St Johnstone tomorrow for the semi-final of the CIS Insurance Scottish League Cup.

The Press first revealed in October that Hibernian were interested in Donaldson and club scout Mark Procter ran the rule over the player during City's fourth-round FA Cup qualifying round clash at Newcastle Benfield.

They renewed their interest earlier this month and offered City £50,000 to take him at the end of the season - an offer which was immediately rejected.

But Petrie met with Donaldson and his agent Andy Sprott on Sunday in Edinburgh where the deal was thrashed out.

In the wake of the pre-contract bombshell, Hibs also offered their young Scottish Under-21 striker Sam Morrow on loan to the Minster-men until the end of the season.

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