HIBERNIAN'S signing of Scotland Under-19 captain Amy Muir on Tuesday continues a trend which is causing resentment among their closest rivals. Namely, that the best young players who go to the national performance academy in Edinburgh often end up at Hibs.

This wasn't an issue when the academy was based at geographically-neutral Stirling, but became one when Heriot Watt won the contract. Aberdeen, Celtic and Rangers have all lost players in this way, and there is a strong feeling it gives the Edinburgh club an unfair competitive advantage.

Hibs, of course, have developed many good young players themselves, and have also benefited from the strength of character and commitment of their senior players and coaches. Getting that topped up by academy recruits has been the icing on the cake, with the added effect that every time a Leah Eddie, Shannon McGregor, Jamie-Lee Napier, Lauren Davidson or Amy Muir arrives, it weakens a rival team also.

There is, to be fair, a different narrative and it was expressed by Muir when the Scotland U19 squad for this month's European Championship was announced at Hampden. The midfielder continued to play for Rangers – the club she supports – despite joining the performance academy last summer and basing herself in Edinburgh.

She says the switch to Hibs is for footballing reasons, and not to eliminate the four night a week double journey across the M8 to attend club training sessions. “It just came down to what I felt would benefit me most on the pitch,” the 19-year-old Edinburgh University sports science student pointed out.

“Right now the important thing is to challenge myself. What Hibs have done in the past, especially for young players coming in, was an incentive for me to go there.

“Part of it is good that there will be less travelling, but I had got used to that and it wasn't the deciding factor. Hibs is where I felt I'd be happiest and play my best football.”

Muir, who also had an offer from Glasgow City to consider, hopes to be a professional player at some point in her career. From that perspective joining Hibs also makes sense. Nearly all recent the moves to the FA WSL have been via the Edinburgh club and, to a lesser extent, City.

Muir, who was a left back until recently, also has Champions League qualifying in Slovenia to look forward to next month and, again, that's a prospect Rangers couldn't offer. Nevertheless, Glasgow City do play Champions League football and even they are losing out on players because the performance academy is based in Edinburgh.

While it's true that Hearts, if they are promoted, could provide Hibs with competition for these young players, that does not make the situation any more palatable for other clubs.

PAULINE Hamill and her players have their work cut out when the U19 Euros get underway on July 16. Scotland play France, Netherlands and Norway.

Whilst the second group – Germany, Spain, England and Belgium – looks even tougher, Scotland go into the finals with a squad of entirely amateur players. Three of their six midfielders play in SWPL2.

“We're under no illusions about the task we face,” Hamill admitted. “We're playing France in the first game and they've got two players who have just played in the Champions League final for Lyon.

“It will be an eye-opener for people to see what the level is. We have a group of players we know who will do their absolute best. We're hosting it and we'll do everything we can in every game, but that's all we can do.

“It's going to be really difficult for us and we have to be realistic about where we are.”

SWF executive officer Fiona McIntyre is correct to raise the issue of how the World Cup windfall will be distributed, and in particular whether some of the £750,000 will be distributed to clubs.

Her counterpart at the Scottish FA, Ian Maxwell, is on holiday but on his return needs to be specific about how the money will be spent, having already promised it will all be reinvested in women's football.