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All White signs for Hibs

Published: 2:46PM Friday January 27, 2006 Source: ONE Sport

All Whites striker Chris Killen will now face the likes of Rangers and Celtic after agreeing a deal with Scottish Premier league side Hibernian.

The 24-year-old from Wellington joins the Edinburgh club on an 18-month deal after completing a free transfer from English League One club Oldham Athletic.

Killen passed a medical at Hibernian's Easter Road ground on Thursday and is line to make his SPL debut in Sunday's crunch Edinburgh derby at Hearts.

Hearts are second behind Glasgow giants Celtic with Hibernian third and in contention for a place in the Champions League next season.

All Whites coach Ricki Herbert is thrilled for the 6ft (183cm) striker, who has scored an impressive 14 goals in 22 matches for New Zealand since debut against Tahiti at 2000 Oceania Nations Cup in Papeete.

"It's great to have another All White featuring in one of the top leagues in the world," Herbert said of Killen who is thought to be the first All White to sign for a Scottish top-flight club.

"He's a front-runner, a good receiver of the ball and strong so he'll certainly suit the environment. He's also been a reasonably prolific scorer for New Zealand so it's a good signing for Hibs."

Herbert has already sent an email to Hibs seeking Killen's release for the All Whites February 19 and 23 internationals against Malaysia in Christchurch and Albany respectively but understands his presence is unlikely.

While Hibernian is not the most fashionable of Europe's top leagues, Herbert is confident Killen's signing will only benefit the All Whites as the eye the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"Killy is going to get a crack at the likes of Celtic and Rangers and they are good teams. It's a bit like Ivan Vicelich playing for Roda JC in Holland where he comes up against the likes of PSV Eindhoven, Feyenoord and Ajax."

Injury jinx

Killen arrived at Oldham Athletic in July 2002 from Manchester City.

He went on to make 79 starts for Oldham, another 33 appearances as a substitute and scored 31 goals.

Killen's career has been jinx by injury but had his best return last season when he finished Oldham's top-scorer with 15 goals in 30 starts.

Speaking to the club's official website, Hibernian manager Tony Mowbray said of Killen: "We have been watching Chris for sometime and were actually looking to sign him this time last year.

"However he was scoring too many goals and Oldham were not prepared to release him. He adds a degree of depth to the squad and creates even more competition for the striking roles which has to be a good for the Club."

Killen told the website that he saw his move to Hibs as a step up in his career.

"I was in and out of the side at Oldham after having a bit of a fall-out with the manager down there," Killen said.

"I see this very much as a step up in my career, it's obviously a bigger support here and with that [comes] higher expectations&playing in the Scottish Premier League which is very good

"I realise that there are already a few good strikers here at Easter Road, but that is going to make me a better player I think. I've not been involved in a lot in first team football recently so I know I've got to put in a bit of extra work and stay after training.

"I like to get myself in good goal scoring positions and bring others into play, so I hope that is they type of football Hibernian supporters will see from me."