Hibs boss: Ofir Marciano is still my No.1

Ofir Marciano has come in for criticism over his recent performances
Ofir Marciano has come in for criticism over his recent performances
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Neil Lennon has assured Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano he still has full faith in him despite his recent dip in form.

The Israeli has looked unconvincing in his past two games and was criticised by the manager for his part in goals scored by both Rangers and Aberdeen as the Easter Road side suffered back-to-back defeats last week.

The goalkeeper was particularly at fault for Alfredo Morelos’s winner for the Ibrox side when he allowed the Colombian’s angled strike to beat him at his near post.

However, Marciano, who was dropped earlier in the season after a poor performance against Motherwell, will retain his place for tomorrow’s visit of Ross County and Lennon has backed him to swiftly rediscover the level of form that has helped make him a fans’ favourite at Easter Road over the past 16 months.

“Goalkeeper is the most precarious position in the team,” Lennon told the Evening News. “Ofir’s my number one – I’m certainly going to stick with him. I think he’s an excellent goalkeeper. He’s just maybe lost a little bit of concentration but that can be rectified very, very quickly. Is he starting on Saturday? 100 per cent.”

Meanwhile, defenders Liam Fontaine and David Gray are both on the verge of returning to the match-day squad. Fontaine has been sidelined for the past three-and-a-half months with an ankle injury, while captain Gray has missed the last five matches after being afflicted by a knee problem.

“Liam came through an hour of the 20s game (against St Mirren on Tuesday), so that’ll do him the world of good,” said Lennon. “He might not be in contention for the squad this weekend but certainly in the games coming up before the break. David’s had a bug this week but the knee has improved a lot. We’ll assess him and see how he is. We could do with having him back for the weekend in terms of having another body, defensively.”

Gray’s return would be a boost at a time when fellow right-back Steven Whittaker continues to be plagued by pelvic pain.

“Steven’s got this ongoing pelvic problem which is becoming more and more of a concern because he just can’t seem to shake it off,” said Lennon.