Florian Kamberi 'fighting tooth and nail' to earn Hibs place
Hibs boss Paul Heckingbottom has insisted Flo Kamberi is “fighting tooth and nail” to claim his place in the team after the striker revealed a lack of game time could lead to him quitting Easter Road to pursue his dream of playing international football.
The 24-year-old spoke out after losing his spot in Heckingbottom’s side to £350,000 summer signing Christian Doidge, relegated to the bench following last month’s derby defeat by Hearts.
Kamberi was an unused substitute in Hibs next two matches - the Betfred Cup quarter-final penalty shoot-out win against Kilmarnock and the 1-1 draw with Celtic - before coming off the bench at Pittodrie to replace Doidge, who had passed up four one-on-one chances against Aberdeen.
And before Hibs’ trip to Hamilton at the weekend, Zurich-born Kamberi revealed he was not only eligible to play for Switzerland but Kosovo and Albania - and that he’d be open to invites to turn out for all three.
However, he conceded that to have any chance to do so, he’d have to be playing regular first-team football, saying: “If you don’t get the game time you want then, yeah, maybe you have to move.”
Kamberi found himself on the bench again against Hamilton at the weekend, only called upon for the final couple of minutes as Hibs sought a late winner after a Ross Cunningham penalty had cancelled out Stevie Mallan’s first-half strike.
Kamberi did manager to force Accies goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams into a smart save, but Hibs had to settle for a draw, extending their winless run to eight matches.
Heckingbottom, though, was adamant the player - who has another season after this of his contract to run - wanted to stay at Easter Road.
He said: “Everyone wants to play and start, every single player at every single club, so that’s no different. Any player who doesn’t think like that, where are they going to end up?
“They are going to end up at the lowest level possible where they are going to play every week. You have to have some drive, some ambition definitely.
“But I think Flo also said - and I know for a fact it’s what he thinks - that he’s fighting tooth and nail to get in the team. He wants to play for us and wants to be in our team. That’s all that matters.”