Saturday, August 13, 2022
SportHibsNew Hibs defender inspired by Old Firm stars 

New Hibs defender inspired by Old Firm stars 

MARIJAN Cabraja insists watching Josip Juranovic and Borna Barisic be selected for Croatia while playing in Scotland is part of the reason he made the move to Hibernian.

The left-back joined the Leith side on a three-year deal from Dinamo Zagreb earlier this month as a replacement for Josh Doig, who made the switch to Hellas Verona.

Cabraja has already been capped at every possible youth level for his country from Under-15 all the way to Under-21.

And while his first objective is to make sure he becomes a mainstay in the Hibs team – starting in today’s Premiership opener against St Johnstone – the defender insists he also has long-term ambitions.

Marijan Cabraja pictured signing a Hibs contract.
Cabraja is set to make his debut against Saints on Saturday (Picture: Hibernian FC)

Asked if Celtic defender Juranovic and Rangers full-back Barisic have shown that playing in Scotland is no barrier to the national team, he replied: “Of course. This is one of the reasons I came here.

“If you are not playing regularly anywhere, you won’t get in the national team. 

“It is always my dream and I will take it slowly, step by step and we will see what happens.

“I have played from Under-15 to Under-21 for my country and two Euros at U19 and U21, so I hope that coming to Hibs can help me make the full team.

“In Croatia, everybody knows about Hibernian, so when I got the chance to come here I was happy. 

“It is something new for me, a new chance and a new challenge that is not something close to home. 

“I see it as the chance to make some other opportunities for me.

“I know these guys (Barisic, Juranovic) although I haven’t been in touch with them yet. They have done pretty well here in Scotland, so I hope I can do the same.”

Cabraja has been kicking his heels on the sidelines so far after work permit delays meant he could not feature in a Premier Sports Cup group campaign that ended with the team’s embarrassing exit from the competition.

However, with all the paperwork now in place, the full-back is looking forward to being thrown into action at McDiarmid Park today.

He added: “The paperwork was done two days ago and now I am ready to play.

“It has been fine. To be honest, it didn’t take too long, maybe two weeks, so it’s fine. 

“I have trained with the guys and got to know the guys, the staff and coaches and everyone, so the time passed quickly.

“We have done all the fitness tests and I think I am ready to play if the manager chooses me. I am completely fit for the game.”

With Lewis Stevenson currently injured, it seems like Cabraja will be handed an immediate debut against Saints.

Following in the footsteps of Doig, a player who moved to Italy for a £3m transfer fee, does not faze the 25-year-old.

He added: “I will do my best and I hope I will be a good replacement. Obviously he did well and got a transfer to Italy.

“We haven’t had much luck in the early part of the season. but you could see in the last game against Norwich, we are a really good team. 

“We played really well and you could see we are ready for the start of the season.”

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