Hibs have signed last season’s goalkeeper Ofir Marciano on a four-year contract, a fact that’s key to this deal and the shredded nerves of the Easter Road support, as Craig Fowler writes.
Hibs have waited all summer for the news that Ofir Marciano would be back at Easter Road for next season. Well, not only has the news arrived, it’s arrived with the best possible stipulation attached.
Fans would have been content with a second successive season-long loan, something to ease the unpredictability of the first campaign back in the top flight. A permanent deal of any description would have been better, but a four-year deal? That means a dependable goalkeeper between the sticks for a full FOUR years. Hibs fans of a certain age have never known the like.
*whispers* Tony Caig
The term ‘Hibs goalkeeper’ in days gone by could have been a synonym for dreadful. It’s unlikely an employee ever phoned his boss and said, “I cannae make it in today, I feel like a Hibs goalkeeper”, but if anyone ever did, the only humane response would be to immediately call an ambulance. And if that’s too harsh on their performances in general, it was definitely true of derby matches.
*whispers* Yves Makabu-Makalambay
It’s only been two games against Hearts, and only one season in the second tier, but there’s a presence and pedigree with Marciano which allays any potential fears. He’s a steady pair of hands capable of pulling off a terrific reactionary stop, with the sort of tall, broad build everyone wants in a goalkeeper.
*whispers* Andy McNeil
There was the game against Dunfermline in February where he made a string of saves that he, quite frankly, had no business making. Then there were the two key stops made at Tynecastle in the first match between the Edinburgh rivals in the Scottish Cup. Though little more than a spectator for most of the replay - even then he saved a penalty - he deserved the rest for his heroics in the 0-0 draw, springing off his line to close the gap and deny Esmael Goncalves in the first few minutes, before making a quick-thinking block with his foot when Bjorn Johnsen looked set to score. It’s hard to think of many Hibs keepers from recent years who performed such heroics at Tynecastle - or even the basics at Easter Road.
*whispers* Graeme Smith
Even in recent years, when mistakes have been curtailed, it’s still been hard for the club to get someone who really stands out at the position. Ben Williams was great in his debut campaign but left at the end of the following season when Hibs were relegated, and while Mark Oxley was reliable enough he never truly won over the fans. It was left to unknown Conrad Logan to come out of nowhere and play a significant role in Hibs’ greatest moment of the past 50 years. In a mere couple of months he made an indelible impact. Others have played for years without getting close to such acclamation.
*whispers* Simon Brown
This particular headache has now gone. Sure, there will be moments where Marciano makes a clanger - he’s still a Scottish Premiership player after all - but overall the fans can rest assured that they have a custodian who’s definitely on Hibs’ side, guarding the gates, and not a potential rogue agent for the opposite side.
*cough* Zibby Małkowski *cough, cough*