Mykola Kukharevych awestruck by Hibs debut as proud Ukrainian reveals: 'I'm enjoying it already'
Mykola Kukharevych made a positive impression on his Hibs debut in Saturday's 3-1 win over Aberdeen and the feeling was mutual with the striker left awestruck by his first experience of playing at Easter Road.
After a two-week wait for a work permit following his transfer deadline day loan move from French club Troyes, the Ukrainian Under-21 international finally arrived in Edinburgh last week and was given the nod by manager Lee Johnson to lead the line against the Dons.
The decision paid off with the 6ft 4in youngster playing his part in the victory and showing enough encouraging signs – with his movement, touch and physical presence – to suggest he can offer Hibs a much-needed focal point in attack.
"It was really a big pleasure to win in my first game and to experience that fantastic atmosphere," Kukharevych said.
"I really enjoyed the game. I just want to say thank you to our fantastic supporters. The atmosphere was really impressive.
"I think I need a little bit of time to improve my fitness and to get to know my partners better – maybe two or three games to get up to 100 per cent.
"But I'm enjoying it already. There's a really good atmosphere in the team and the stadium. I'm really happy to be in this situation."
Kukharevych could have capped off his debut with a goal had Josh Campbell – who went on to score a double – squared a ball to him for a tap-in early in the second half.
"I spoke with him but it's okay," he said. "It's more important we win. It won't happen again, if not I'll (punches hand!)".
With Polish goalkeeper Kevin Dabrowski helping his new team-mate with his English – "we're brothers and so are our countries" – Kukharevych spoke of his pride in Ukraine as he reflected on the ongoing conflict in his homeland.
"The situation back home is much better than it was when the war started," he said.
"It's important for me that my family live in the western part of the country, which is safer territory than in the east.
"So far I think my country has shown the whole world how strong it is.
"We have a really good mentality and I think we're going to win this battle."
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