Hibs goalkeeper Kevin Dabrowski proud of Poland's role in helping Ukraine as he speaks on Jon Busch coaching and first-team chances
The 23-year-old hails from Poznań in the western part of the country but with his homeland sharing a land border with Ukraine in the south-east, the plight of several thousands refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of their country hasn’t escaped Dabrowski’s notice – and he is fiercely proud of his compatriots.
‘I am proud of every Polish person’
“My family is further west but I have plenty of friends that are close to the border,” he said.
"I am proud of every Polish person… the way they have reacted by aiding every Ukrainian who comes for help. We have welcomed over 500,000 Ukrainian people, more than half a million, so it’s amazing.
“My heart is with every Ukrainian person. What is happening there right now is unacceptable. It’s disgusting. It should never happen in the 21st century. The good thing is that it has showed everyone across the world what good people we are, what good hearts we have, to help every person from Ukraine.
“I’m sure we can stop this war and soon it will be over and we will end up with a happy story because being a good person and love always wins.”
Dabrowski has revealed that many people in Poland are scared of the ongoing conflict.
‘Many people in Poland are scared’
“Everything is fine for my family. It’s just a bit stressful because Ukraine are our neighbours, and some of the bombs and missiles were dropped just 80km from our border. It’s very worrying. Many people are so scared.
“We can’t panic. Right now, we just need each other and to help each other. As one we are going to stop this war. I believe that.”
Clean sheet aim
Closer to home, Dabrowski is focusing on recording another clean sheet when Hibs host the Perthshire Saints.
He has already achieved two shut-outs in his three senior appearances for Hibs, denying Hearts and Dundee in goalless draws, and wants more.
“I’m happy I have come back again and happy I could get another clean sheet for my club against Dundee. After playing two games for Hibs, I was so hungry, I wanted more.”
Gloves battle with Macey
Matt Macey was brought back into the starting line-up for the trip to Ibrox last month and held onto the gloves until sustaining an injury in the goalless draw with Celtic last weekend. Dabrowski admitted that it was tough getting a fleeing taste of first-team action before returning to back-up duties.
“It was the toughest time in my life because I am the kind of goalkeeper who wants to play every week,” he explained.
“Everyone knows what I am capable of and I am the kind of goalkeeper who can win a game for my team so I just wanted to keep doing it and playing every week.
“Unfortunately after a few games I got dropped but I said to myself, I waited so long for my chance before so I just needed to keep doing what I am doing and I was sure I would get back and make all the Hibees proud once again."
Shaun Maloney made sure to speak with the young shot-stopper when he restored Macey to the starting XI to keep him from getting too despondent.
“He was delighted with my first two performances. He just asked me to be ready and said my time would come again, and I would get back in the team soon.
“It is good to have healthy competition between me and Matt so he is very happy about it."
Dabrowski is desperate to play games but he is also pragmatic, and recognises that Macey is older and more experienced.
“I understood the manager wanted to put Matt in against Rangers because I only played two games, but now I have played my third one and once again I have shown what I am capable of.
“The more games I play the more experience I will get. I am ready to play every week and get those clean sheets, which I did, and hopefully there is more to come.
“There is always competition. I show in training I will fight for everything, every single shot, every single ball. I fight for my life.
“Everyone knows if they are in competition with me it is going to be a big one. I am happy that I am showing it in training and proving it in games for Hibs.
“Matt is such a nice person, we always try to help each other. The way I played, he congratulated me and when he went back in I did the same, it is like a normal professional job.
“He was fine when I played, I was fine when he did. We play for Hibs and that’s the biggest thing, to be ready and win games for our club.”
Mighty Busch helping Easter Road goalies
The Easter Road goalies have been training with a new coach in Jon Busch, the former MLS goalkeeper joining Hibs earlier this year, and Dabrowski has relished learning from such an experienced figure – and feels he has improved under his tutelage.
“It’s good to learn from as many different coaches as I can. Every coach has different ideas or comes from different cultures and for me that’s spot-on because I adapt quickly to different styles.
“He is my third goalie coach. I have developed even more because of his new ideas. I just explore and try to get better in every way.
“With Jon we always do lots of positioning. He keeps saying to me that I’m a big guy and if I make my position perfect in every way I will increase the chance of avoiding goals. I will feel much more comfortable as well to stop shots, stop crosses.
“That’s key for me to be perfectly positioned and ready and set for every ball. It’s crucial.”