Hibs Exclusive: Keeper on challenge of replacing Scotland legend

Black Stars goalie back from AFCON and ready for SPFL action
David Marshall, left, is awaiting scan results on a hamstring injury - opening the door for Jojo Wollacott.David Marshall, left, is awaiting scan results on a hamstring injury - opening the door for Jojo Wollacott.
David Marshall, left, is awaiting scan results on a hamstring injury - opening the door for Jojo Wollacott.

Jojo Wollacott insists he’s ready to take over Hibs goalie duties from former Scotland No. 1 David Marshall – despite playing virtually no first-team football this season. But he’s still hoping that Marshall gets the all-clear from a scan on his tweaked hamstring.

Marshall limped off late in the 2-2 draw with Aberdeen on Saturday, with Wollacott – not long returned from international duty with Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations – stepping off the bench to take his place. The 27-year-old summer signing, who had only played once since picking up a thigh injury back in August, impressed with his shot stopping and handling in a 20-minute cameo.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hibs boss Nick Montgomery is relaxed about the possibility of Wollacott taking over for a longer stint, in the event of Marshall needing to miss games, saying: “We don’t think Marsh is too bad but, until we get the results of the scan, you’re not sure. If he’s going to be missing for the weekend, it’s a great opportunity for JoJo, who has been desperate to come in. I thought, when he came on against Aberdeen, he was very good in the short time he was on. So this is a good opportunity for him.

“Obviously he was away for six weeks at AFCON, he’s been back in training for a couple of weeks. He’s not had the opportunity to play in any bounce games, but he’s been sharp in training and looked good at the weekend.”

Wollacott is equally confident, declaring: “Yeah, I’m ready. Every player has to be ready. You can’t come on and have it be a shock to your system. So I’m definitely ready when the team need my services. I’ll make sure of that. And I’ll give my best whenever I play.

“If I look at where I’ve been since the start of the season, I’ve been unfortunate with injuries. But as a goalkeeper, you have to be patient and wait for your opportunity.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s never nice seeing a team-mate and colleague go down with something. So obviously my first thoughts were to hope that Marsh was OK. I wish him all the best in making a quick recovery.

“But I just had to stay calm, make sure I was ready to play. I kept myself ready throughout the game. When I came on, I really focused on playing my normal game.

“Thrown into a game like that, you don’t go chasing anything or try too much. The important thing is not to make any silly decisions.

“I made a couple of saves. That’s what I’m there for. It’s always a nice feeling to come on and help the lads when they’ve been busting their guts, play a part in the 100 minutes to help them get a result.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Injured in August’s 6-1 home win over Europa Conference League opponents Inter Club D’Escaldes, Wollacott came back to face Ross County in a 2-2 draw at Easter Road on Hallowe’en night. But Marshall regained his place immediately, leaving the former Charlton keeper back on the bench.

The Ghanaian international, who has 11 caps for the Black Stars, said: “With a lack of games, you stay sharp in training. You can’t really do much because it’s always a tough position, being the No. 2 goalkeeper. Only one of us can play. It’s not as if you’ll get subbed on for 10 minutes here and there like an outfielder.

“I’ve just been making sure I do the right things day in day out, training with Hibs, training with the national team. And we do have a little squad of goalies who work hard with each other at Hibs. Marsh is different class. We’ve got a really close group, and we all push each other to be the best we can.

“Marsh has had such a great career, anything he says, I take on board. He helps me see things from different angles and I’m always asking him for bits of advice. Obviously, I appreciate having a goalkeeper who has had such a fruitful career.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Four-time AFCON winners Ghana endured a miserable tournament that saw them exit at the group stages, leading to manager Chris Hughton being sacked. Yet Wollacott, who didn’t play in any of the games, insisted he’d still taken something from being part of a squad full of key players at major European clubs.

“It was a very good experience,” he said. “Obviously I went to AFCON in 2021 and that was disappointing. We had high hopes heading into this one and things didn’t work out, unfortunately. That happens.

“Being with the squad, it’s obviously a different culture, a different type of football, a different level of football. So there is a bit of adapting to do when I go away with the national team. But I was happy to be back.

“We just have to prepare for the next one, which is next January. It’s actually a really quick turnaround – and we’re hoping for better luck next time!”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.