Hibs keeper Ofir Marciano is in excellent form and manager Jack Ross is all too aware of his contract situation

Israeli international is a key player as Easter Road side head to Celtic Park

Ofir Marciano believes Hibs can exploit Celtic weaknesses. Picture: Mark Scates/SNS

It seems that every time Ofir Marciano takes to the pitch these days, he is reminding Hibernian why they should be looking to tie him up on an extended contract while at the same time tempting others into making a move if the Easter Road don’t.

His club manager Jack Ross has no qualms about others eyeing up his asset, describing it as an understandable by-product of his team’s start to the season but he will be happier when all his players have put pen to paper on deals that will see them remain part of the set-up beyond the end of this season.

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“It is something the club is very much aware of,” said the Easter Road gaffer. “We try to plan ahead as much as we can and in the current squad, I think, off the top of my head, it’s just Paul [McGinn], Ofir and Joe [Newell], who are coming to the end of contracts, which is encouraging for me.

Goalkeeper Ofir Marciano looking forward to trip to Celtic Park. Photo: Mark Scates / SNS Group

“If you have a good group then it’s nice to think that you will also have that same group moving forward. Look, all you can ask of a player when he is in the last 12 months of a contract is make the club desperate to keep them and Ofir is certainly doing that.

“His form at the moment and his form all season, is excellent and I know that is something that the club is aware of and I know from conversations with him that he is very much focused on each game that comes up. He knows that if he can maintain that form, he will be ok.”

Until they came face to face with Rangers last weekend, the keeper had not lost a goal from open play on domestic duty and throughout the early part of the campaign, he has contributed to the team effort with a series of sensational saves.

"I’m in a good place now. I’m happy that I have created a good environment around me and I’m enjoying my job and how my life is. I want to keep that as much as I can.

“You can look back on my time at Hibs, or even earlier stages in my career, and I have played well. But I’m definitely in a good place right now because I feel like I am in control.

“I try to do my best every day and not get carried away with a good performance. I know there is more for me. It is my career here and I want to do the best I can.”

A positive start to the Premiership season has seen them build momentum and they want to maintain that when they travel to Celtic Park today looking to equal or better the performance and the result secured against Rangers, in Leith, last weekend.

“We know what Celtic are at Parkhead, we know they are a great team, but we trust in ourselves and know that there are areas we can exploit.

“We have worked hard this week and believe we are going to have a good match.”

““I always believe in myself, no matter what happens in my career. It is always up to me and my decisions.

“Obviously, there are things you cannot control and sometimes you need to accept that, but then you need to come in the following day and work as hard as you can to improve your game and improve your confidence.

“This is something I am always telling myself; you cannot control everything, but if you can dedicate your life to football - which is what I have done by moving to a foreign country and putting all my eggs in one basket.

“It’s always good to face good quality players, I like it, I enjoy playing at those levels.

“Obviously we know their best players, Christie, McGregor and Forrest are their main threats attack wise. So we will prepare for the game on Sunday but we know they are a threat at national level as well.”

As the Israeli keeper he is hoping to thwart Scottish dreams when the nations meet in the upcoming Euro play-off. It would take him one step closer to aiding Israeli qualification for a major finals for the first time since 1970.

“We haven’t been at a big tournament for a long time. And we know we have a game coming up that is our most important for a long time.

“In two months’ time we might be in the Euros, we have a chance. First we have to try and be at our best and get past Scotland at Hampden, and then we will have another tough game. But first things first and I have the Celtic game and then Hamilton with Hibs.”

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