'I can't believe he played': The player involved in Hibs v Rangers that puts it all in perspective as Marijan Cabraja words revealed

A match brimming with talking points, tension and noise, the moments immediately before and after reminded everyone of what really matters.

Both sets of players and supporters lined up for a minute of applause in memory of Andy Goram, who had represented both clubs but passed away last month after a short battle with cancer. Then, at the final whistle, there were emotional scenes as Hibs coaches and team-mates attempted to comfort a distraught Marijan Cabraja, who, less than 48 hours after laying his father to rest, had managed to keep his emotions in check long enough to get through just over a hour of the match and help his side to a hard-fought draw. But then he dropped to the turf as the floodgates opened.

“There was an emotional chat after the game,” revealed captain David Marshall.

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“He has been superb since he came to the club. But to go back and have to deal with that bereavement, and then come back to the club and be thrown on like that and play the way that he did … fair play to him.

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“It’s incredible. He spoke to the lads in the dressing after the game and it was pretty emotional. To be honest, I can’t believe he played. He just got back to the club on Friday. So it was a very emotional dressing room and it puts everything into perspective a wee bit.”

Hibs had fought back from officiating inconsistencies which resulted in Rangers going 1-0 down to a James Tavernier penalty and they equalised after the break thanks to Martin Boyle. They went behind once more after Tom Lawrence headed home but deep into stoppage time Josh Campbell manifested the whole team’s desire and cooly chested down a clearance and sent a volley into the net for a share of the points.

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A match that had been sullied by refereeing controversy and a swinging Alfredo Morelos arm, resulting in two Rangers red cards, the most recent late fightback, combined with the way the players rallied around their new Croatian team-mate demonstrated the developing sense of unity and togetherness in the Hibs ranks, which Marshall believes will foster further improvement in the squad.

“It’s a new group we have at the club, a great group. He [Cabraja] is a fans’ favourite already, the way he plays, the way he launches himself into tackles. He’s got a bit of spirit about him, so he’ll be fine.

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Hibs assistant manager Jamie McAllister and several players attempt to console the recently-bereaved Marijan Cabraja at the conclusion of their league draw with Rangers. Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group

“Marijan is a big part of a new group. We will certainly try to do what we can to help him.

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“We just did little things like send him messages and such. He was thanking the boys, but we should actually be thanking him, because we never expected him to be anywhere near the country, but he did amazingly well.”

It was the third time in four league matches that the Leith side had found a last-gasp goal to bolster their points tally.

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“We’ve scored late in a lot of games and against nine men you are obviously going to have chances. and, as I say, we are growing as a group and I think we will get better as well when we get the injured back. I think after the World Cup break you will probably see the best of us.”

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