Obita looking for return to familiar territory as Hibs take on Killie

Fullback answered SOS as defensive crisis escalated
Obita tackles Fabio Silva in Wednesday night's loss to Rangers.Obita tackles Fabio Silva in Wednesday night's loss to Rangers.
Obita tackles Fabio Silva in Wednesday night's loss to Rangers.

It wasn’t that Jordan Obita was actually bad at centre-half in the midweek loss to Rangers at Easter Road. As angry as the home crowd might have been at different stages of a 3-0 defeat guaranteed to enrage the mildest of passive supporter, nobody was directing criticism at a player pitched into an unfamiliar position after Paul Hanlon coming down ill exposed a crippling lack of cover at the heart of the back four.

But everyone watching Hibs struggle to progress down the left flank was thinking the same thing. If only Obita was out there in his normal position as an overlapping, underlapping, line-breaking fullback, things might have been very different.

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Obita, who had some limited experience of playing in a back three earlier in his career, at least had time to prep for the strange new role, revealing: “I found out probably a day or two before the game. I knew Paul wasn’t training and then I got the shout that I might be playing so I was fully prepared for it. I’m not really a nervous person before a game, I always back myself to do well. It’s just up to me to perform.

“I still got forward. Especially in the first half. As soon as I had a bit of space, I thought: ‘Why not go for it?’ It gives us an extra body in the wider area to pass to or create a chance to cross. Sometimes I just do it off my own back.”

Eager to return to his specialist duties, Obita has been impressed with the impact made by new arrivals Myziane Maolida, Emiliano Marcondes and Luke Amos – all of whom are likely to feature against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park today.

The former Reading player said: “They’re all technically gifted players. Obviously, they will need a bit of time to gel and get used to their surroundings. But in training they’ve been really good.


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“I knew Luke, I came up against him once or twice when he was at QPR. He is a very good midfield player, good technically and he likes to get on the ball. So that’s a positive for us because that’s how we like to play.

“You could see Emiliano’s ability straight away. He almost scored as soon as he came on. He is a gifted player, has played Premier League and Championship and has a few promotions under his belt.

“I would have played against him when he was at Bournemouth and Brentford. So I knew we were getting a good player here. You always want people coming in who are hungry to do well. Whether it’s for themselves or the team. So it’s a big positive to have them in.”

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