Hibs step up bid to land Israel keeper Ofir Marciano after winning race for Dundee United striker Simon Murray

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HIBS have stepped up their attempts to land keeper Ofir Marciano on a permanent deal after confirming the capture of striker Simon Murray from Dundee United.

Murray will follow in the footsteps of dad Gary, who played for Hibs in the 1980s, following his decision to make the switch from United in the wake of their failed promotion bid.

The 25-year-old, who netted 18 times for United this season and was being tracked by St Johnstone and Partick Thistle, has become manager Neil Lennon’s second summer signing after Danny Swanson agreed to join the Championship winners on a pre-contract.

A photo emerged online of Murray in Hibs training gear

Lennon has lost both James Keatings, who ironically has signed for United, and veteran Grant Holt from his forward options for next season, with interest also expected to be firmed up from south of the border in top scorer Jason Cummings in the coming weeks.

Murray has penned a two-year deal and Lennon has expressed his delight at securing the former Arbroath marksman’s services.

He said: “Simon is a great player, one who enjoyed a personally solid season with Dundee United, and it is pleasing to bring someone of his calibre to the club.

“He’s strong, he’s quick with a good turn of pace, plus he knows how to find the back of the net.

“He has fantastic attributes and a real hunger to continue to improve as well – I’m delighted to have secured his services for next season.

“With the players who have renewed, and Danny Swanson coming in as well, I believe we are moving in the right direction with our recruitment, and that process is still ongoing to ensure we have as strong a squad as possible for the club’s return to the top flight.”

With confirmation that Liam Fontaine has penned a new contract, to join David Gray, Lewis Stevenson, Darren McGregor, Marvin Bartley and Ross Laidlaw in signing extensions, Lennon is desperate to bring Marciano back to the club for life in the top-flight.

The Israel internationalist has one year left on his contract with Ashdod in his homeland but has expressed his desire to stay with Hibs after playing a key role in promotion during this season’s loan spell.

The 27-year-old has held talks with Ashdod to inform them of his enthusiasm to return to Scotland and reports in Israel have indicated that Hibs have now ‘submitted an offer’ to the club and are awaiting a decision.

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