Latapy axed by Hibs

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Russell LatapyRussell Latapy: Russell Latapy will not wear the Hibs green again

Russell Latapy will not appear in Hibernian's colours again after breaching the Easter Road club's code of conduct.

The 32-year-old Trinidad international missed training before Sunday's Edinburgh derby, the club said, and spent Friday night socialising with his international team mate Dwight Yorke.

The Manchester United striker was with Latapy when the Hibs man was charged with a drink-driving misdemeanour by police.

Speaking after the 0-0 derby draw with Hearts in which Latapy was not involved, Hibs manager Alex McLeish broke the news that Latapy will not play against Rangers next week or take part in the Scottish Cup final against Celtic on 26 May.

"This has got nothing to with his alleged offence," stressed McLeish. "It's purely a football decision."

Fantastic player

"Russell didn't show up for training on Friday and I had to take action for the good of this club.

"It's a shame it's had to end this way, because Russell has been a fantastic player and he has helped us come a long way in a short time.

"But, I think he knows himself that he's blown it.

Russell LatapyRussell Latapy: Latapy was a favourite with the fans

"There are rules at this club. We don't allow players to drink 48 hours before a match and that rule was broken.

"Nobody is bigger than this club and it was important for the good of the other players that this decision was taken."

Latapy was due to leave Easter Road on a free transfer at the end of this season, having turned down the offer of a new contract, but it was expected that he would make his final farewell at Hampden.

Firm favourite

The former Porto player has spent two-and-a-half years in Edinburgh and his often scintillating performances had made him a firm favourite with the fans.

McLeish told reporters that Latapy fully understood the decision and had admitted his behaviour was unacceptable.

"He's held his hands up and accepted responsibility for his actions," added McLeish.

"I've had a chat with the players and the team spirit will prevail. Russell was good for the team spirit and I am grateful to him for that - it helped bond the team. I will always appreciate what he brought to the club."