Abdellah Zoubir: Ex-Hibs winger showed Easter Road stint was a lifetime ago with mesmerising performance v Aberdeen
Seven years after his loan spell with Hibs ended, Abdellah Zoubir was back in Scotland and terrorising defences. Well, just one to be precise.
The 29-year-old was omnipresent in Qarabag’s 3-1 shellacking of Aberdeen in the Conference League play-off second leg at Pittodrie on Thursday night.
The gap between the two teams was more than that of a two-goal victory. A large part of that was down to their attacking quartet with Zoubir arguably the best of the lot on the night.
Even before Qarabag opened the scoring after eight minutes, the former Hibs winger was getting the ball out left and driving at Calvin Ramsay. Such was the hectic nature of his evening, the 18-year-old was the Dons’ best performer.
That shows just how well Zoubir played.
Direct, quick, skilful. He was a captivating watch.
For the second goal, five red shirts descended on him as he reached the Aberdeen box, only to calmly caress the ball with the outside of his right foot to set up Kady for the second goal.
He got his deserved goal after the interval, sprinting at the Joe Lewis' goal before expertly shifting the ball between his feet to create space before rasping a left-footed effort into the net.
He’s come a long way since spending a season at Easter Road under Pat Fenlon and Terry Butcher.
“Abdellah is an excellent young player, fast, with good technique and a good mentality,” former Hibee Freddy Arpinon said at the time, having played a part in the deal.
"Hibs fans will like him because he is a wonderful player and I am sure they will enjoy watching him play.”
He was an instant hit, performing well in a League Cup win over Stranraer but the conditions weren't in place for the then 22-year-old to succeed.
Pat Fenlon spoke of a language barrier, while it was only natural for the player to be taken aback by the physical and mental demands of playing as a winger in Scotland.
More than anything, Terry Butcher replacing Fenlon saw Zoubir’s minutes decrease, starting just one game following his arrival.
Such was the ferocity, pace and relentlessness that the French-born star went at Aberdeen, that Hibs spell feels like a lifetime ago.