Marijan Čabraja fit and ready and hoping Hibs move can help him realise Croatia dream

Marijan Čabraja is hopeful that moving to Hibs can help him realise his dream of playing for Croatia.

Friday, 29th July 2022, 10:30 pm

The left-back arrived from Dinamo Zagreb earlier this summer as a like-for-like replacement for Josh Doig, who joined Hellas Verona in Italy, and having received his work permit this week, is primed for his first taste of Scottish football.

That could come against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on Saturday as a result of an Easter Road injury list that has shorn Hibs of at least five first-team players.

With left-back options Lewis Stevenson and Demetri Mitchell currently sidelined, manager Lee Johnson could hand Čabraja a start in Perth.

"I'm completely fit and I'm ready if the coach needs me,” the Croat said.

"It's a new opportunity for me, a new challenge. I was excited when I heard Hibs wanted me. I will do my best and hopefully the fans will see some good crosses and good defending.

"I played on loan for big clubs in Slovenia and Hungary with Olimpija Ljubljana and Ferencvaros, they have a winning mentality like there is at Hibs, and I have it too.

"I'm excited and can't wait to start the season and playing games.”

Marijan Cabraja is eager to get going for Hibs after a lengthy wait for his work permit

Čabraja wants to do well for Hibs in his new challenge. But he still harbours hopes of finally earning that senior international call-up, having been capped at every level from under-14 to under-21.

"It's my dream to play for Croatia. I've played for my country since I was 15, I played at Euro Under-19 and Euro Under-21,” he explained.

"It’s a big step and Croatia is a good team. It's hard to get into it but I'm still dreaming. You never know."

Čabraja was given an idea of what to expect in Edinburgh by former Easter Road goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, the pair having played together at Ferencvaros, but insists he didn’t need a second opinion before signing on the dotted line.

"Adam told me all about Hibs and the city, and about Scottish football, but I'd already decided on the move when I spoke to him. Hibs are quite a popular club in Croatia, so I didn't have to think too much.”