Hibernian have struck a “partnership” deal with Premier League outfit Brighton designed to boost player development at both clubs.
The Easter Road side already have a similar agreement in place with Stenhousemuir, which allows Hibs to send out their best young talent on loan to gain experience at Scotland’s League Two side.
Now they are hoping to benefit by having first pick of the Seagulls’ best academy graduates when they are also farmed out by the English top-flight outfit.
Hibs sporting director Graeme Mathie said: “In our conversations with Brighton, it became clear from the start that they saw real benefit in a partnership with Hibernian.
“Our owner Ron Gordon and I had the opportunity to meet with Paul Barber and Dan Ashworth – two of the most respected individuals in their field in the English Premier League – and there was a genuine meeting of minds.
“Brighton are widely recognised as having a plan and identity in how they want to grow their club and there is a clear synergy in how we want to operate here at Hibernian making them a perfect partner for us.
“Although there are a number of wider benefits to both parties, our conversations have focussed most specifically on player development.
“Dan Ashworth and I presented clear examples to Ron and Paul of how this partnership can benefit specific players from both clubs, all at different stages in their development and journey.
“Brighton have become one of the leading clubs in England at providing minutes to youth players; and we have also enjoyed a successful season with Ryan Shanley and Steven Bradley making their first-team debuts.
“And Ryan Porteous and Josh Doig are regular starters in the first team.
“This partnership allows us to plan for how a players might potentially go from Hibernian to Brighton or Brighton to Hibernian as two new and exciting options on our ambitious roadmap and gives all our young players a pathway to aspire to play at the highest level of the game.”
Albion’s technical director Dan Ashworth added: “This is a concept we have been discussing with our counterparts at Hibernian for some time.
“We want to share ideas and knowledge, with a focus on player development opportunities for both clubs, which could include training or playing opportunities for younger players, and friendly matches between various age groups.
“Both Hibernian and ourselves believe there is a real benefit in the partnership. Each club has a plan and identity, but it is clear we share some ideas, aims and ambitions, and we know how we want to achieve those.
“I would like to thank their chairman Ron Gordon and sporting director Graeme Mathie and we are really looking forward to this partnership and working with Hibs going forward.”