Injured Rangers youth player seeks £1m from Hibs

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McShea: He left Rangers a year after being stretchered off the pitch

A FORMER Rangers starlet who claims his dream of football glory was shattered by a reckless tackle is suing Hibs for 1m.

Rangers and Scotland youth player Craig McShea broke his leg when he was tackled by Lee Currie of Hibs three years ago.

Craig claims the tackle ruined his chances of playing top flight football and cost him a fortune in lost earnings.

He is demanding compensation from Hibs, arguing they are liable for Lee’s actions on the pitch.

Craig, 20, from Paisley, was a striker with Rangers’ under-19 team and had donned the Scotland jersey for the national youth team.

Midfielder Lee Currie, 21, from Edinburgh, had scored two goals for Scotland under-19s and was hopeful of one day winning a permanent place in the Easter Road first team.

Both players were on the field when Rangers and Hibs youth teams played at Newtongrange, Midlothian, in May 2008.

Just 15 minutes into the game, according to match reports, Craig and Lee clashed in the middle of the park.

Craig was left writhing in agony and had to be stretchered off the pitch and taken to hospital by ambulance.

Lee was immediately sent off for the tackle and, despite being a man down, Rangers went on to win the game 5-1.

Craig never fully recovered from the injury and left Rangers the following May.

He has now launched legal action against Hibs in the Court of Session, suing the club over the alleged conduct of Currie.

It is understood his lawyers are arguing that Hibs are responsible for the injury that ruined his career and robbed him of a fortune in earnings.

First team Old Firm footballers have attracted average annual salaries of around 900,000 in recent years, with some players spending more than a decade in the higher ranks.

Craig declined to comment but a spokeswoman for his lawyers, Bonnar and Co, confirmed the action was going ahead.

Currie: Former Hibs and Scotland player insists it was a 50-50 challenge

She denied the former footballer was seeking as much as 9m.

She said:

“The sum sued for at the moment is a relatively modest sum. It is really too early in the proceedings for us to make an accurate prediction regarding Craig’s losses. “

However, sources at Hibs have said the compensation being demanded is in the region of 1m.

Craig seemed destined for a career at the highest levels of the game.

He started his career as a youth player with Ayr United in 2003, moved to Livingston the following year, and then signed a youth form with Rangers.That was upgraded to a contract in the 2006-07 season.

During his time in Scotland’s youth team, he played Belgium, Wales, England, Sweden, Armenia and Malta.

Lee’s dreams of footballing stardom have also failed to materialise, although he is still playing the game.

His contract with Hibs expired in December and was not renewed by manager Colin Calderwood. Lee is currently on trial at Berwick Rangers.

Approached at his home in Leith, Lee said he had not heard about the court action.

He said:

“It’s news to me. It was a long time ago now. It was a 50-50 challenge. I feel for the guy. “

A spokesman for Hibs said:

“It would be inappropriate for the club to comment on this matter at this time. “

One litigation expert said last night that cases like Craig’s were rare and could be difficult to prove.

Ray Gribben, Legal Director at DLA Piper, said:

“In the past it was more likely to be accepted that this was just part of the rough and tumble of the game. However given recent English cases, I suspect we will see more cases of this type and in Scotland too. “

He added:

“One difficulty in these sort of cases is obtaining truly objective witness evidence.

“Witnesses are often other players or fans who of course have affiliations to one side or the other. “

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