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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 June, 2003, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Falkirk snap up Latapy
Russell Latapy (right) in action for Dundee United
Russell Latapy (right) was released by Dundee United

Falkirk have signed former Trinidad and Tobago international Russell Latapy on a one-year deal as player-coach.

And Falkirk boss John Hughes expects the 34-year-old to help make Collin Samuel an even hotter prospect.

Former Hibernian, Porto and Rangers playmaker Latapy was released by Dundee United at the end of the season.

But former Easter Road team-mate Hughes tracked him down in Portugal.

And Latapy maintains that it was the presence of Hughes that encouraged him to return to Scotalnd and drop into the Bell's First Division.

"There are a number of reasons for my decision to sign, the major one being the ambition shown by the club and, indeed, John Hughes, who I know from my time at Hibs," he said.

He's a football genius and will be a very exciting addition
Falkirk boss John Hughes
Hughes had already failed in bids for former Scotland men John Collins, Tom Boyd and John O'Neil.

But the addition of Latapy could have the added bonus of further inspiring striker Samuel, who had impressed on trial with Everton last season, while he remains with Falkirk.

Hughes said: "Russell is his football hero, just as he is for so many people in Trinidad.

"He's a football genius and will be a very exciting addition to our side next season.

"His experience is undoubted and he can pass that on to Collin and other players here and help them progress.

"Collin has been linked with a lot of clubs, but he is level-headed enough to realise that he can improve by staying here for two or three more seasons."

Latapy had also become renowned for his off-field antics - including nightclub jaunts with close friend Dwight Yorke and being banned for drink driving.

But Hughes has warned the veteran that he will not stand for "any nonsense".

Hughes has also signed former Ayr United and Dumbarton midfielder Neil Scally.


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