Hibs looking after Marijan Čabraja after tough, emotional week, says Jamie McAllister
Hibs assistant boss Jamie McAllister has praised Marijan Čabraja for having the character to face Rangers less than 48 hours after attending his father’s funeral.
The Croatian left-back flew back to his homeland, returning to the Capital on Friday, and came on as a substitute in the first half, playing around an hour and supplying the cross that eventually led to Josh Campbell’s injury-time equaliser.
When the full-time whistle went he broke down and was comforted by team-mates before McAllister sought him out too.
“I think he showed incredible character to even play. He hadn’t trained all week, that’s why we put him on the bench,” the Easter Road No.2 explained.
“So to come on and play the way he did after the week he’d had, and then the emotion he showed after the game was tough.”
Manager Lee Johnson and captain David Marshall revealed that Čabraja had given an emotional address to the rest of the team in the dressing room after the game, and McAllister praised the 25-year-old for having the strength to do so.
“He did a speech in the dressing room, he sat all the lads down and told them he wanted to speak and he stood up and made a really emotional speech,” he continued.
“That must have been so difficult for him to do.
“We were all happy at getting the point so late, but he kind of stopped everyone and asked them to sit down so he could speak.
“He was just really emotional, it was tough."
With such a high turnover of players and coaching staff, togetherness has been key over the past couple of months at Easter Road. The pre-season training camp in Portugal certainly helped with that and McAllister believes situations such as that post-Rangers do likewise.
“I think it’s important; getting to know each other better is a big thing.
“And for Marijan to share that with the group, and the way they have supported him over the past week, even messages from the fans as well, has been quite touching.”
Čabraja has slotted in seamlessly to the team, stepping in at left-back following Josh Doig’s departure to Hellas Verona earlier this summer, and the former Dinamo Zagreb full-back has hit the ground running.
He is expected to return to the starting line-up for the trip to Paisley to face St Mirren on Scottish Premiership duty on Saturday. Stevenson could return to the playing squad to provide cover from the bench but appears to be rated fifty-fifty despite training this week.
“I think Marijan has been brilliant since he came in, and that just integrated him into the squad even more,” McAllister continued.
“He’s well liked, a good player, and the messages the lads and the staff shared with him, he thanked everyone in the dressing room after the game, he was very emotional.
“He been back in this week and we just need to make sure he is okay.”
Striker Elias Melkersen also stands a chance of returning to the matchday squad but long-term absentees Kyle Magennis, Aiden McGeady, and Kevin Nisbet remain out. Defender Demetri Mitchell has seen a specialist about an ankle problem that has kept him out since a development-squad game against Queen’s Park at the start of the month.