Ofir Marciano 'not forgotten in any way' in battle for Hibs gloves
Paul Heckingbottom has assured goalkeeper Ofir Marciano he won’t be “forgotten in any way” after the Israeli internationalist lost his place in the Hibs team.
After starting the season as the head coach’s No.1, Marciano has found himself on the bench following a run in which the Easter Road club lost 13 goals in just four Premiership games as Chris Maxwell was handed the gloves.
Marciano spoke of his situation while on international duty, playing in Euro 2020 qualifying matches against Austria and Latvia having re-established himself in Israel boss Andreas Herzog’s plans.
While insisting it was “business as usual” and that he’d “be professional until the end”, the 30-year-old appeared to cast doubt on his future in the capital by adding: “I have a contract for another year after this season, it’s impossible to know if I’ll leave.”
However, Heckingbottom made it clear it’s now up to Marciano to rise to the challenge of ousting Maxwell. He said: “Ofir is not playing so he’s not going to be happy. You don’t want any player happy if they’re not playing.
“Ofir is professional, he loves the club and he wants to be here. He wants to be in the team and we’ll back in and push him as hard as he can so that when he is called upon again he is ready to go, that’s all you can do.”
Heckingbottom raised a few eyebrows when he pitched Chris Maxwell into the first Edinburgh derby of the season, the on-loan Preston North End goalkeeper having only featured in Betfred Cup matches up to that point, but the Yorkshireman said: “If you start worrying about what game it is to make a decision, then you’re doing it wrong. You have to take that out of it and if you believe something is right, you have to do it.
“Maxie has come in and done really well. Ofir can see that, but when you’re out the team you’re not forgotten in any way. It’s a time to really show what you’re about.
“If a footballer wants to pay at the highest level he can, he has to overcome setbacks and be able to push himself. Otherwise he plays at a level where he’s comfortably the best player and never has to face those things. Ofir is certain he wants to play as high as he can and will be pushing.”