Paul Hanlon hails calm Matt Macey as Hibs captain has say on Nathan Wood
Hibs captain Paul Hanlon has praised goalkeeper Matt Macey for his part in the seamless transition between the sticks following the departure of long-serving number one, Ofir Marciano.
The Israeli internationalist left Easter Road after five seasons during the summer but with the former Arsenal shot-stopper already at the club, there was less upheaval going into the new season than their might have been.
Macey caught the eye during last Sunday’s Edinburgh derby with a series of saves – including a spectacular effort from his skipper at the death.
"I'm pretty confident it was going a yard over [the bar], I think Matty just wanted to get an extra save under his belt,” Hanlon joked ahead of the visit of St Mirren on Saturday.
“It was a dangerous cross in and I was going to try and hook it out to my right hand side, then I was going to leave it, so I got caught somewhere in the middle.”
The Bath-born ‘keeper has lost just two of the 18 games he has played for Hibs and kept nine clean sheets in the process, with Hanlon praising the Englishman’s calming presence at the back.
"He's a real calming influence behind us and that's what you want in a goalkeeper. We know we can trust him and he's pretty vocal at the back as well,” Hanlon said.
“He'll come and help us with cross balls because of his height and all in all he's been a great addition, a real calming influence at the back. He's someone the younger ones can look up to as well in terms of the way he lives his life.”
Macey’s arrival in January, once the Hibs hierarchy knew Marciano was on his way, allowed the club to plan ahead of the summer, with Jack Ross handing the new arrival a chance to impress in last season’s Scottish Cup matches.
“It wasn't as if he was coming in as a new face and straight into the jersey Ofir had for a number of years,” Hanlon added.
“As a centre-back you do get used to having the same goalkeeper behind you, that sort of continuity, but it's been pretty easy to transition and it's all credit to Matt for the way he's come in and performed behind us.
“We've got a real trust in him and he's got a trust in us to keep things as quiet as possible for him.”
Hanlon also revealed the arrival of on-loan Middlesbrough defender Nathan Wood has forced the central defenders to up their game in training.
The 19-year-old captained England Under-20s during the recent international break and has already made an impression at East Mains as he looks to force his way into the Easter Road first team.
"He's come in and settled in brilliantly, for a young lad he's really vocal and really chatty around the training ground,” the skipper revealed.
“He's working hard and competing and raised the level in terms of training because we know there's another player in there desperate to get into the starting line-up so it boosts everyone.
“He's come from a good club where the standards are high and he's brought that in here too.”