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Football: ROUSSET IN A RACH TO FIND SAINTS STAR.

Byline: KENNY ROSS

FORMER Hearts goalkeeper Gilles Rousset recommended French ace Rachid Djebaili to St Johnstone and reckons he'll be a huge hit in the SPL.

Saints boss Sandy Clark has secured the former Besancon player on a two-year deal and hopes to parade him in their friendly against Clyde this Thursday.

But the 26-year-old has set his heights higher by trying to get himself ready for the Perth side's SPL opener at Celtic Park.

Rousset spotted Djebaili in the French second division and sold the merits of the Scottish game to the midfield ace.And the former Jambos favourite is convinced he can cut it here.

Djebaili said: "This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me. Gilles got in touch with me through a mutual friend and said he had recommended me to St Johnstone.

"He believes that my style of play is perfect for the game in Scotland.

"I know Gilles was very popular with Hearts' fans and I hope I will be just as popular with the fans in Perth."

The action midfielder joins a growing Gallic colony in the SPL and he has already crossed swords with countryman Franck Sauzee in French football.

Djebaili added: "I know that many players from France have been very happy here and when Saints said they wanted me to sign, I had no hesitation. People here have been very friendly and I have been impressed with the way the manager communicates with his players.This is a good environment in which to play football.

"This is an important move for me. The best years of my career are ahead of me but to grow as a player I know I have to perform well for St Johnstone.

"I am a fighter and I will give everything I have for 90 minutes."

Clark welcomed his third summer signing, with Djebaili joining former Jambos Darren Jackson and Grant Murray.

He said: "We had Rachid over for a week and now we've agreed terms everything should be tied-up before the end of the week.

"Towards the end of last season I was in touch with Gilles before he returned to France and asked him to keep an eye open for potential players.

"Rachid has a great engine, he gets around the park and he is an attacking type. At 26 he is a good age for us."

CAPTION(S):

FRENCH LESSON: Djebaili with Sandy Clark yesterday
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 17, 2001
Words:404
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