Hibs goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw has warned Israeli internationalist Ofir Marciano that he doesn’t intend to give up the gloves without a fight.
Easter Road head coach Neil Lennon has declared Marciano will be his first-choice stopper once he is given the all-clear to play for Hibs.
Red tape has delayed Marciano’s debut for the Edinburgh club after he agreed a season-long loan deal from his hometown club FC Ashdod, although the 26-year-old hopes to clear the final bureaucratic hurdle this week.
However, Marciano’s battle with the intricacies of immigration rules, including passing a test in English, has given Laidlaw the chance to showcase his capabilities to Lennon as Hibs have begun the new Championship season by winning their opening two league games.
A summer signing from Raith Rovers, Laidlaw accepts that with ten international caps to his name, Marciano has the credentials to be Lennon’s No.1 and admits he’s been impressed by the 26-year-old as he’s trained with him and Finnish keeper Otso Virtanen under the guidance of coach Alan Combe. But, having spent the second half of last season recovering from a torn kidney, Laidlaw is relishing playing again.
The 24-year-old said: “After last season I was just trying to get fit so to play in a couple of pre-season games, start the season and play in the Europa League has been a real bonus for me.
“I’ve been delighted to get a run of games having not played for so long and I think I have done well so far. But you need competition at a club like Hibs, you need three goalkeepers. Ofir has been training the last few weeks and you can see he is a really good goalkeeper who will do well for the club. I think he’s been a bit frustrated at all the red tape holding things up as far as he is concerned, but the three of us have been working well in training together.
“I know having him here has spurred me on and it’s spurred on Otso as well. But Ofir is an international goalkeeper and if the gaffer decides to go with him then I’ll be working as hard, ready for when that next chance might come along and ready to take it.”