Ofir Marciano speaks on Hibs future and defensive improvements

Ofir Marciano pushes Callum Lang’s shot away in the first half of Hibs’ goalless draw with Motherwell

Ofir Marciano insists he is only focused on performing well on the pitch as he enters the last 12 months of his Easter Road contract.

The Israeli goalkeeper, who pulled off a fine save from Motherwell striker Callum Lang in the first half of the goalless draw between the two teams on Saturday, had last year hinted at seeking a move away from the club, and there was interest in the shot-stopper earlier this summer.

However, the 30-year-old is happy in Edinburgh after first moving to the Capital four years ago, and his performances for Hibs have allowed him to reclaim the No.1 spot for his country going into the 2020/21 Nations League tournament and Euro 2021 play-off against Scotland later this year.

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Marciano said: “At the moment I am only focusing on playing for Hibs.

“It is a massive club that I really admire. I’m enjoying it here and I want to upgrade my game and be the best I can for this club.

“I try not to get distracted by [contract talk]. I just try to work hard every day and be as good as I can.

“As a professional footballer, I need to just put everything to one side when I go out there.

“I just try to focus on my job. I have to be good out there on the pitch to earn the right to have a good contract.”

The former Ashdod goalie returned from lockdown fitter and leaner, according to Hibs head coach Jack Ross, possibly in a bid to improve performances.

Marciano continued: “I never felt like a fatty, I just think that any player can upgrade themselves and maybe if I improve by five or ten per cent I can become a better ‘keeper.

“I always want to investigate and discover new ways to become a more professional player.

“That’s been through diet and exercises and new methods of training and things that can help me with my routine during the week.

“I’ve been eating more Israeli food that my wife cooks. The only thing that you need is to look after yourself and try to be as professional as possible. There’s no magic wand, it’s just the way of life for me.”

Hibs’ defence has conceded just twice in the opening four matches of the 2020/21 Scottish Premiership campaign and is yet to lose a goal from open play.

The Easter Road backline came under fire at several points last season – sometimes unfairly, according to Jack Ross – but the back three or four can be happy with their performances against Kilmarnock, Livingston, Dundee United, and Motherwell.

Marciano continued: “We need to realise that it could be a struggle this season. If we keep winning games, teams will come here [to Easter Road] and try to make it hard for us.

“But I was happy with the way we defended today and we showed character. I always try to take the positives from a game. I am happy with the clean sheet and will take that.

“There is more confidence now in the way we defend and it’s not just the defenders; the whole team is involved from the high pressure that the strikers put on opponents, centre midfielders, wingers, everyone is doing a really good job.

“When you get clean sheets, the confidence grows, but we need to keep working hard.”

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