What Hibs are getting in Josh Doig replacement Marijan Cabraja

Josh Doig was sold to Hellas Verona, requiring Hibs to find a new left-back.
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Lewis Stevenson is an option, as he is at several positions where he fills in admirably whenever called upon. The same goes for Demi Mitchell, though he does seem somewhat injury prone from what we’ve seen of his time in Edinburgh, as on three occasions (twice with Hearts, once with Hibs) his campaign has ended prematurely.

New manager Lee Johnson would have wanted a left-back to call his own; someone he can trust to play the majority of games across a season. It would have been Doig had he stayed, but after his reported £3 million exit Hibs went out and finalised a deal for a player they had their eye on, Croatian defender Marijan Cabraja.

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As with most teams in the Scottish Premiership, especially when it comes to identifying targets from abroad, Hibs use websites such as Wyscout.com to give themselves a better understanding of a player’s strengths and weaknesses before evaluating them in person. And they would’ve liked what they saw in Cabraja, especially in the advanced statistics.

Marijan Cabraja in action for Ferencvaros against Real Betis in the Uefa Europa League group stages last season. Picture: GettyMarijan Cabraja in action for Ferencvaros against Real Betis in the Uefa Europa League group stages last season. Picture: Getty
Marijan Cabraja in action for Ferencvaros against Real Betis in the Uefa Europa League group stages last season. Picture: Getty

Last season he found a team-mate with a cross 46.53 per cent of the time, a better mark than any full-back in the Scottish top-flight across the same period. This was on 4.78 attempts per 90 minutes as well, another high number.

He was tremendously creative at Olimpija and, when given the chance, at Fenercvaros. He had 1.7 shot assists per game and 0.9 key passes (basically, those which lead to a scoring chance). Again, that would have him ranked in the top two among Scottish players last term. Not content with setting up team-mates, he’s also fond of a pop himself with a lot of power in his shooting.

He was also quite dominant in the air for a full-back, winning 61 per cent of his duels, while showed strength in other aspects of his defensive game with a lot of slide-tackle attempts and high number of interceptions per game.

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Of course, all of this comes with the great whopping caveat that he played in the Hungarian and Slovenia top flight while compiling all these impressive stats, and didn’t play all that regularly in the former. Scotland is currently ranked ninth in the Uefa country co-efficient. Those two are ranked 27th and 31st, respectively.

He was sold from Dinamo Zagreb. While things didn’t work out for him at the Croatian giants, they were moved to sign him in the first place due to his stand-out showings for Gorica, also in the country’s top league, so the pedigree is there. However, it must be noted that most of the statistics took a significant jump from the 2020/21 campaign, his last playing regularly at a higher level in the Hrvatski Telekom Prva liga. The most striking of which was his crossing, which didn’t even crack 30 per cent.

The good news is that the majority of his stats from that season still rank quite high in comparison to his new peers in the SPFL. He’s strong technically, has good height for a full-back and decent mobility without possessing searing pace. At 25 he’s got a blend of experience and upside. If he settles well, the Hibs fans will soon take him to their hearts.

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