Jack Ross 'relaxed' about Hibs No.1 Ofir Marciano despite Covid-19 cases in Israel camp

Jack Ross has insisted he is “pretty relaxed” about Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano’s involvement with the Israel national team despite positive Covid-19 cases within the squad.

By Patrick McPartlin
Monday, 12th October 2020, 10:30 pm
Jack Ross is relaxed about Ofir Marciano's involvement with the Israel squad despite two positive Covid-19 cases

Celtic duo Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed have both tested positive for coronavirus and are now self-isolating, ruling them out of the Old Firm clash on Saturday. Marciano is naturally close to the Hoops pair through shared nationality but the trio also represented Ashdod together in the early 2010s.

Speaking ahead of Hibs’ trip to face Forfar Athletic in the Betfred Cup on Tuesday night the Easter Road head coach admitted he hadn’t spoken to his No.1 about the virus, revealing that any exchanges had been about football.

Ross said: “I’ve spoken to Ofir about the football side of things. I haven’t spoken to him about any concerns [around coronavirus].

Sign up to our Hibs football newsletter

"I think maybe Craig Samson [Hibs’ goalkeeping coach] spoke to him when the news came through about Nir’s positive test but I’m pretty relaxed about stuff like that.”

Bitton was diagnosed with coronavirus on Saturday, while Elhamed returned a positive test late on Monday after complaining of feeling unwell in the aftermath of Israel’s 2-1 defeat by the Czech Republic on Sunday.

Both players are now self-isolating.

Ross, speaking before Elhamed’s positive test was confirmed, continued: “Ofir’s a mature, intelligent man and if there is [a positive test] there’s nothing we can do about that now.

“It would be through, not misfortune, but just the way things are.”

Hibs defender Josh Doig is already self-isolating after Scotland Under-19 coach Billy Stark tested positive for Covid-19 last week, but Ross believes teams have to approach coronavirus cases within squads the same way they do injuries.

He added: “We take every measure within what we're doing but there's nothing I can do to stop somebody ever testing positive.

"If a player is ruled out then that can be frustrating from a football point of view. You just have to adapt and adjust. It's similar to having players unavailable through injury.

“This week I've got the numbers that I've listed unavailable through injury and that can happen at any time throughout the season.”

Marciano is expected to feature for Israel in their Nations League clash with Slovakia on Wednesday night and is due back in Scotland on Thursday.