Hibs Exclusive: 'The gaffer kept calling to ask if the baby had arrived ...'

Fullback in maternity ward while team-mates dealt with County call-off
Obita and wife Scarlet welcomed baby Romi on December 23.Obita and wife Scarlet welcomed baby Romi on December 23.
Obita and wife Scarlet welcomed baby Romi on December 23.

Jordan Obita might have been the only Hibs player actually cheering a Dingwall downpour that left his team-mates high and dry. For reasons that perfectly illustrate football’s status as the most important of life’s unimportant things.

As Nick Montgomery’s men were making their way back from the Highlands following the late postponement of their Scottish Premiership clash with Ross County on December 23, Obita and wife Scarlet were welcoming the latest addition to their family. Already proud parents of boys Noah and Cole, the couple were thrilled by the safe arrival – eventually - of baby girl Romi.

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Beaming with pride and unashamedly looking forward to a few nights’ uninterrupted sleep during his team’s mid-season break, Obita revealed: “We just had an addition to the family, with a baby girl just arrived, so now I’ve got three kids at home. She’s our first girl. We already have two boys.

“That was actually the day of the Ross County game, so I would have missed that match. I stayed at home. I think we went in (to hospital) on Thursday, they were going to induce, but there were quite a few emergencies going on which meant that we were delayed.

“The gaffer kept calling me, asking me: ‘Is the baby coming? Has it arrived yet?’ I just had to keep saying: ‘No. Sorry, I need to stay.’

“The baby was actually born at 1.30 pm on Saturday, which would have been when the coach was due to arrive at the stadium. But the game got cancelled, thankfully, so I didn’t miss it. And I’m looking forward to putting those points on the board when we eventually play them.”

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It’s a testament to Obita’s professionalism, not to mention his energy levels, that he’s even thinking about a game now rearranged for March 13. Even if he’s been through the experience a couple of times before, those first few weeks with a new baby in the house can be an exhausting experience.

Looking forward more than most to next week’s winter training trip, however heavy the workload, the 30-year-old laughed as he admitted: “I will get some sleep in Dubai. Seven days of sleep – but I know exactly what’s happening when I get home. The baby will be put right in front of me, and it’ll be my turn!

“We’ve actually just moved outside of the city to get a house. And we’ve settled in really well. I’m really enjoying it – and hopefully we can be up here for a long time, because I’ve got the family up here now, which is nice.

“I think we’re all ready for the break now. There will be some down time mentally, then the chance to get away in some good weather, good training facilities – and work really hard. We know that’s what we need to kick on in the second half of the season.”

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Hibs headed into the shutdown on the back of a disappointing run, back-to-back defeats against St Johnstone and city rivals Hearts followed by a dramatic draw at home to Motherwell, courtesy of Elie Youan’s injury-time equaliser. Despite playing well in that final fixture, in particular, Monty’s men were hardly tearing through the Scottish Premiership when the winter break put everyone on ice.

Reflecting on his own first six months in the SPFL, Obita said: “Obviously we didn’t start the season great under the previous manager, for whatever reason. Since the new gaffer has come in, I think we’ve done really well.

“We had a bit of a tough spell in the last couple of games before the break, there’s no denying that. But that happens to every single team. Sometimes it’s better to get it over and done with, forget about it and move on.

“I actually think we played really well in the last game against Motherwell. But we just conceded two goals that weren’t really great, to be honest. We have to be aware of that – but still acknowledge that we played really well.

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“Listen, you always get what you deserve in football. If you have two lapses of concentration, two moments when you lose focus, you run the risk of losing goals.

“But we look at the stats from games, look at how we performed against Motherwell, and feel encouraged. We were in double figures in shots on targets, for instance. We just need to get a few more of those on target, convert those into goals.

“It’s good that we’ve got the break so we can focus on the second half of the season. And the aim then has to be no more blips, just positives.”

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