Neil Lennon eyeing new keeper after Ofir Marciano injury leaves Hibs with one fit goalie

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HIBS manager Neil Lennon admits he is likely to be forced into signing a new keeper after being hit with an injury crisis between the sticks.

Israel internationalist Ofir Marciano was taken to hospital at the weekend after being substituted in obvious pain in the first-half of the 8-1 hammering of Bonnyrigg Rose in the Scottish Cup.

The 27-year-old was sidelined for seven weeks with a knee injury and made his welcome return on Saturday at Tynecastle, but lasted just 20 minutes.

(Pic: Twitter @hibsofficial)

It remains unclear just how long the former FC Ashdod custodian will be ruled out for this time but an another extended absence would leave the Easter Road side short in goal.

Ross Laidlaw has deputised for Marciano and won praise for his performances in recent weeks but third-choice keeper Otso Virtanen was freed earlier this month to allow him to return to his native Finland.

Polish teenager Maciej Dabrowski, formerly of Lech Poznan, was recruited as a replacement for Virtanen but has suffered a dislocated thumb and is also currently unavailable.

That leaves Lennon with just 18-year-old Development keeper Patrick Martin as back-up to Laidlaw and the former Celtic boss admits he will have to seek reinforcements.

He said: “Ofir took a knee or a boot in his back in the kidney area and he went to hospital.

“It is a blow for him, having been out with a knee injury, and it leaves us with only one fit goalkeeper.

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“Young Kevin (Dabrowski) dislocated his thumb in the second or third day of training.

“So, we might have to bring in a goalkeeper as well.”

A similar move into the transfer market worked in spectacular fashion last year when Alan Stubbs drafted in Conrad Logan after Mark Oxley was suspended for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Dundee United.

The ‘roly-poly goalie’ was the penalty-kicks hero against United and was again in superb form when Hibs created history with their stunning cup final triumph against Rangers.

Meanwhile, Lennon has his sights set on one further signing this month as he bids to beef up his squad for the title run-in and their attempt to retain the cup.

The Northern Irishman remains keen on Celtic’s Kris Commons, who has been linked with Aberdeen, and added on Hibs TV: “We had a couple of young players on the bench (on Saturday), so regardless of the strength in depth that we have we are a little bit thin in numbers.

“So, we are looking to maybe add one more if we can.”

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