Florian Kamberi buoyed by Basel interest but says he is happy at Hibs

For everyone involved, the incentive was a place in the quarter-finals of the League Cup. But, with reported interest from Basel, Hibernian striker Florian Kamberi had added stimulus, and popped up twice to deny an impressive and driven Morton and book the Easter Road side a head to head with Kilmarnock in the next round.

Florian Kamberi strokes home the first of his two goals to put Hibs 3-2 ahead at Easter Road. Picture: Bruce White/SNS

Scott Allan and Glenn Middleton had been buoyant in the opening spell and the former notched the opener after just 20 minutes. But by the time Josh Vela made it two, the Championship side were beginning to get to grips with the match and offer a stern test of their superiority.

The improved performance eventually translated into two goals, from Bob McHugh and then an own goal from an under pressure Lewis Stevenson, to leave the teams level at the break but Kamberi, spurred on by the outside interest, which he described as flattering, re-established the home lead and he had to do that again when the match was forced into extra time by another own goal, this time courtesy of Steven Whittaker.

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“It was a hard afternoon but I am delighted we won and got into the next round. It was harder than we expected after we went 2-0 up,” said the Swiss 24-year-old. “We started the first 15 minutes very well but then we got a little bit sloppy and made mistakes and they scored. We have to be careful. We have respect for the opponent but we should have finished them off in 90 minutes. But we got the goals and we are in the next round,” added the player who believes the transfer talk is a confidence booster rather than a distraction.

“I deal with it really well, just like I did last time there was speculation. I feel comfortable here. I feel happy. Every player has his ambitions, that’s for sure, but I’m happy playing here and scoring goals. You never know what is going to happen in the future.

“But it is a motivation. It shows that I am doing something right. I am working hard and it is paying off. But it doesn’t mean that I can stop now they are looking at me. It just pushes me on even more. It’s a good sign when you hear something like this that you are doing your job right but it’s important to keep your feet on the ground and keep working harder and harder.

“It’s not in my hands. My job is to do my work on the pitch for Hibs and score goals to help the team. For anything else I have my agents who are dealing with stuff outwith the football.”

By the time Christian Doidge came on to wrap up the scoring and give the scoreline a more flattering appearance, Morton boss David Hopkin was watching from the stand. That sending off proved contentious and, harbouring a sense of injustice, the Greenock side are intent on making their feelings known. Having accused the fourth official of manhandling their manager and using abusive language, they will take matters further but Hibs can put the match behind them and look ahead with hopes of silverware still intact.