Former Hibs midfielder John Rankin joins Dundee United

John Rankin
Rankin fell out of favour at Easter Road under Colin Calderwood

Dundee United have signed John Rankin on a two-year contract after the midfielder was released by Hibernian.

The 27-year-old joined Hibs in 2006 but has not played since February after falling out of favour with new manager Colin Calderwood.

United have lost four key midfield players who were out of contract.

"I'm a Dundee United player now and I'm desperate to get in about the football and know where I'm going," said Rankin.

Former Scotland Under-21 midfielder David Robertson rejected a new contract at Tannadice and has joined St Johnstone.

And Craig Conway, Prince Buaben and Morgaro Gomis also turned down offers of new deals, with chairman Stephen Thompson having warned earlier in the season of severe summer cuts to United's budget.

Rankin spoke to BBC Scotland after completing the deal at Tannadice and said he wanted to secure his future before the summer kicked in at the end of the season.

However, he insisted there was no ill feeling between him and the Hibernian manager Colin Calderwood over the move.

"You work yourself into the ground every day and you feel as if you deserve a chance on a Saturday," said Rankin.

"But you're just not that manager's cup of tea. Even though you've been playing every game under the previous manager.

"For whatever reason, they just don't fancy you. That's what happened to me at Hibs; Colin Calderwood came in and put his own stamp on the team, doing everything the way he wants to.

"I didn't want to go through the summer not knowing what was giong to be happening - I wanted it sorted as soon as possible.

"When Colin came in, he was brilliant and I got on well with him.

"It's a transitional period and it's difficult for me to talk about because I'm leaving - but It'll be interesting to see what happens, because Colin will be under a spotlight now, so it'll be interesting to see who he brings in."

Houston, insists that Rankin, who began his career with Manchester United before spells with Ross County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, will prove an able replacement for the players leaving Tannadice.

"This signing should show the fans that we intend to be competing up the top of the SPL next season again."

"John is a player I have long admired and someone I believe can come in and add quality to the midfield area of our squad," he said.

"He will add experience to the team as he not only received a good learning base in his four years at Manchester United but also has five years' experience of playing in the SPL with Inverness and Hibernian.

"His energy and drive, along with his desire to play football, made him an obvious target for me as I look to enhance the squad for next season.

"John's style of football and his industrious nature will quickly see him become a fans' favourite here."