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Hibernian duo Ofir Marciano and Joe Newell set for new contracts

Hibernian duo Ofir Marciano and Joe Newell set for new contracts
© Reuters
The duo are out of contract at the end of the season.

Hibernian are planning ahead after opening initial contract talks with Ofir Marciano and Joe Newell.

Israel goalkeeper Marciano has been on top form this season and denied Scotland on Wednesday night, and Newell has established himself at the heart of the Hibs midfield.

The pair are both out of contract at the end of the season and Hibs are looking to tie them up despite making cuts in the wake of the pandemic.

Head coach Jack Ross said: "We have initiated some conversations with Ofir's representatives. They remain ongoing, it was only fairly recently we have done that. But Ofir is aware we would be keen to prolong his stay at the club.

"As always, players have their own individual decisions to make as regards their personal and professional lives but I am delighted with his form and pleased I have one of the strongest goalkeepers in the league."

On Newell, Ross added: "We have had the same types of conversations because we would like to extend Joe's stay. And what we are trying to do is cut down on the turnover of players we have within each window.

"Hopefully we can bring an increased stability to the squad. We feel we are doing that with each passing window and make sure we can have a core group that can bring us success.

"Ofir and Joe have played pretty much every game this season and performed to a very good level so it's common sense to try and keep them at the club, particularly when they are coming into the peak years of their careers."

Former Peterborough and Rotherham player Newell is open to extending his stay in Edinburgh.

The 27-year-old said: "I think my agent might have started talking to the club but I have not really thought in depth about it.

"I have loved my time up here since I finally got my foot in the door. Obviously Covid has kind of ruined it on and off the pitch really.

"When the conversation comes round, we will sort it then.

"I have only had two previous clubs. I am not one to jump around. Maybe that's because no-one else wants me...

"But when I am happy and settled I enjoy it and I like being there for a while, so when that conversation comes around I am sure we will try and get something sorted either way."

Hibs host Scottish Premiership champions Celtic on Saturday after bouncing back from defeats by Hearts and Aberdeen with a Betfred Cup win over Dundee.

And Ross is not dwelling on those earlier losses.

"I don't think we deserved to lose the semi-final," he said. "I was critical after the Aberdeen game because it's about pushing us to be a club that continually competes at that part of the game and to do that you have to win those types of matches.

"We have made progress so it's about making sure we are aware of the shortcomings but equally we don't dwell on them. We look at why in the main we have been good this season.

"We have work to do but we are heading in the right direction and will continue to do that."

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Jack Ross pictured in charge of Sunderland in September 2019
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