OFIR MARCIANO insists he is determined to leave Hibernian on a high after confessing he is taking a gamble in turning down a new deal with the club.
The Israel internationalist will bring to an end five years at Easter Road this summer but, having previously set his sights on the English Premier League, admits he is unsure where his future lies.
The 31-year-old has revealed he never expected to last longer than a season in the capital, but believes he is departing a better player after that original loan spell in 2016 turned into a lengthy and successful stay.
With wife Shelly giving birth to a boy called Sun in 2017, Marciano has developed an emotional attachment to Hibs and Edinburgh that he admits made his contract decision a difficult one.
However, he is adamant the understanding shown by manager Jack Ross has ensured there will be no bitter ending to a memorable period in his career.
Speaking for the first time about his exit, he said: “Everything in life is a gamble, depending on how you look at it.
“It is not an easy decision for me because I will always see myself as a Hibs man. My family is settled here, I had my first son in Scotland.
“The club has been so good to me, I have really enjoyed my football here over the last five years, so it has not been an easy decision. But, at this moment, I think it is something I have to do for myself and I think most people would agree with me.
“There are so many things behind this decision. You don’t know what the future holds and what the final result will be.
“When I came to Hibs I just wanted to enjoy the atmosphere, the fans, the training centre, the games. So I was so busy creating things I never thought about the end of it. When you think about the end you aren’t really enjoying the present – and I would like to enjoy it.
“Now I know I have these last two months at Hibs I really want to enjoy them. After that I don’t know, but at the moment this is what I am trying to achieve.”
Ross is comfortable with Marciano retaining his place in the starting line-up, despite his failure to commit his future to the club.
The goalkeeper could prove key to the push for third place that continues against Livingston, and he would love to sign off with Scottish Cup success, even if the aftermath would not match the celebrations that had only just died down when he arrived five years ago.
He added: “I’m going to miss everything. The training centre, the players, the staff, the backroom staff, the kitman, all the fans, everything, the whole experience.
“I came here and I never thought I would stay more than a year. I stayed five. I had my family here, so for me it’s everything, it’s the last five years of my life. So it’s a big thing for me, I will always remember that.
“We still have the Scottish Cup to play for. I would really like to win a trophy for the club and with the fans.
“When I first came here I saw [footage of] all the parades in Edinburgh and the celebrations down Leith Walk. It’s something I have dreamed about repeating. But even if we win the cup now, with the [Covid] restrictions, I’m not sure we would get those numbers.
“But my focus in the next two months is to try and do the best I can for the club and give something back to those amazing fans that supported me the last five years.”