BREAKING: Hibs boss confirms departure of key player

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Hibernian head coach Jack Ross has confirmed that Ofir Marciano will be leaving the club when the goalkeeper’s contract expires this summer.

The two parties had been involved in protracted negotiations over fresh terms but Ross has conceded that the Israel international has now informed him he will seek a fresh challenge.

The prospect of the Leith side being able to hold on to the 31-year-old, who moved to Hibs from Ashdod in 20016, looked even more bleak earlier this week when Marciano, in an interview in his homeland, said that he thought he was good enough to play in the English top-flight.

Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano | Hibs news
Marciano joined the club from Ashdod in 2016 (Pic: Twitter @hibsofficial)

He said: “I know my value. It’s a big statement, but I think I can play in the Premier League.”

And now Ross, whose side take on Ross County tomorrow, has revealed that he will be looking for a new number one.

Ross said: “I can give clarification on Ofir’s situation.

“Ofir won’t accept the deal, won’t be taking up the offer of the contract beyond the expiry of the current one in the summer.

“He’s been open about that with me.

“We offered him the best we could within our structure.

“I think he’s at an important part of his career in terms of his future, he has a young family with another child on the way.

“He’s in his 30s now and he feels like his future lies elsewhere.

“I appreciate he has been open with me because we have that type of relationship, and it allows me to start to plan for life beyond the summer when he is not with us.

“We always do the best we can within our structure to keep our best players. But there’s always a ceiling on that – there has to be in order for us to keep moving the club forward.

“I read and hear some interesting comments in terms of our budget from people who are ridiculously ill-informed.

“We are miles away from being big spenders.

“We did the best we could and Ofir was respectful of that. Him and I enjoy a good relationship and the good thing is he felt comfortable enough to come and tell me his decision rather than it dragging on and it becoming problematic.”

Ross, however, is adamant that Marciano, who has kept 12 clean sheets from 26 league games this term, will not allow his standards to drop as Hibs attempt to strengthen their grip on third place.

He added: “Equally he has got a strong focus and desire to make sure we finish in third in the league.

“Being able to give that clarity to it, it helps to quell speculation around his future.

“We are both clear in where we are at and I don’t think it has affected him in any way in terms of his performance.”

Ross, meanwhile, expressed his sympathy for Derek McInnes after seeing his friend leave the manager’s post at Aberdeen earlier this week following eight years in charge.

He added: “He was someone who led that club for a significant period, and led them well.

“That leadership goes beyond the result on a match day. It covers so many facets of a football club.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of people at that football club who will miss him, his staff round the place and the leadership qualities that Derek had.”