Ofir Marciano speaks to Israeli media on losing No.1 spot at Hibs

Ofir Marciano in action for Hibs. He has played the full 90 minutes of Israel's last four Euro 2020 qualifiersOfir Marciano in action for Hibs. He has played the full 90 minutes of Israel's last four Euro 2020 qualifiers
Ofir Marciano in action for Hibs. He has played the full 90 minutes of Israel's last four Euro 2020 qualifiers
Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano insists he will keep "training hard and working hard" in the wake of losing his starting berth to Chris Maxwell.

Asked by the Israeli media about his club situation in the wake of helping Andreas Herzog's side to a 3-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Latvia in Be'er Sheva, the 30-year-old suggested it was business as usual, despite the on-loan Preston shot-stopper taking the gloves for the Edinburgh derby defeat to Hearts, Betfred Cup quarter-final win over Kilmarnock and 1-1 draws at home to Celtic and away to Aberdeen.

Marciano said: "I am still under contract at Hibs, so I'd rather not get into it too much.

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"I believe in myself - if the team chooses to get rid of me, then fine. I'm a professional, and I'll be a professional until the end.

"I love Hibs and the fans, and I will do everything as long as I am there - whether I am playing or not.

"I have a contract for another year after this season, it's impossible to know if I'll leave. I live in the moment - I'm training hard and working hard.

"I haven't played in the last few games but it was for professional reasons. Before that I was playing regularly and playing well."

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Marciano, who joined Hibs initially on loan in 2016 before signing a permanent deal the following season after a brief spell in Belgium with Royal Excel Mouscron, is closing in on 100 appearances in all competitions for the Easter Road side.

Speaking in June ahead of Israel's qualifying double-header against Latvia and Poland, he had hinted that he would be open to moving "to a bigger club", adding: "In our short career we have to move forward as quickly as possible. I had a good [2018/19] season and I feel like I deserve to move forward.

"I hope to make that upgrade and jump forward.”

The former Ashdod No.1 has earned praise for his performances for Israel in their last few qualifiers, helping them to a 3-1 win over Latvia in Be'er Sheva and a 1-1 draw with North Macedonia while he performed well despite defeats to Slovenia and Austria.

During the next international break, Israel host Poland and travel to North Macedonia for their remaining Group G matches.

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Ariel Harush, the undisputed No.1 before Marciano's restoration to the starting line-up, is still to make a competitive appearance for loan side Sparta Rotterdam.

The 31-year-old, who has 19 caps for Israel, has been an unused substitute for all nine of the Eredivisie club's league matches.

Third-choice national team goalkeeper Yoav Gerafi is yet to be capped for his country but has featured in five of Hapoel Tel Aviv's six Ligat ha'Al matches this season - missing one due to a finger injury.

It is likely that Marciano will remain the first choice for Herzog heading into the next international break in mid-November regardless of his position at Hibs.