Kevin Dabrowski declares ‘love’ for Hibs as ‘keeper explains Rocky Bushiri confusion that nearly caused derby disaster

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Kevin Dabrowski says he is “in love” with Hibs and is happy he rejected the possibility of leaving the club before making his first-team debut against Hearts.

The Polish goalkeeper found out at lunchtime on Tuesday that he would be making his first team appearance in the Edinburgh Derby after Matt Macey was ruled out with injury.

And he put in a man-of-the-match performance to hold the Jambos at bay in the goalless draw.

The 23-year-old – real name Maciej – made three big second-half saves from Ellis Simms to prevent the visitors from breaking the deadlock, and was almost overcome with emotion after full time while still performing media duties in his kit, more than an hour after the final whistle.

“I’m very emotional,” he admitted. “I’ve been at Hibs for over five years since I had the chance to step onto the pitch for the very first time at 18, I thought this is a perfect club for me to become a first team player one day. I’m glad it finally happened and I’m now a first team player, but it wasn’t easy. I was sent out on loan several times, to Cowdenbeath and Dumbarton and did a very good job.

“It gave me a really good argument to play for the first team because I feel like I did everything I was asked to do. But, before now, I still didn’t have the luck.

Dabrowski has been waiting for his chance since he was a teenager, but even after those impressive loan spells, a first-team shot hasn’t happened.

“It was a bit frustrating because I was on the bench for 50, maybe 60 games and I wasn’t used,” he said. “It was really difficult for me and I had to fight with myself, mentally, because a lot of people would have wanted to leave but I’m just in love with Hibs. The club is my second home and I sacrificed everything to be here and the way I was treated also by the fans, I just wanted to thank them and one day show them on the pitch that they gave me the energy to train every day and I’m happy to have had this chance and to be ready for it.

When asked if he had had the opportunity to leave Easter Road during this period and if he had thought about it, Dabrowski replied: Yes, a few times. Last season I had a lot of offers when my contract expired.

“When I was young I signed for four years, but after four years my contract expired and I still had no luck, so I was a bit frustrated with the way the fans treated me. welcome and the way they treat me and the way the club is and the city is amazing so everything feels like home which is why I wanted to stay with Hibs and make them proud one day.

“I’m so happy that it finally happened and I just want to keep going and do what I can to be able to play every game, every week.

“When I found out I was going to make my debut against Hearts at home, it was just amazing. My feelings were mixed. I was excited, emotional, and I was nervous. But I’m happy to know how to manage these emotions and use them on the pitch to play at their best.

“I played against them and I was very busy in that game. It was the busiest game of my life, but I have to say I played twice against Hearts and twice I got the man of the match, so I think that’s pretty good.



Kevin Dabrowski grabs the ball

Things almost took a turn for the worse late when a pass from Rocky Bushiri missed its mark and appeared to be heading for a calamitous Hearts winner.

Dabrowski dove for the ball to concede an indirect free kick, which could have left him open for a penalty immediately afterwards when Alex Cochrane’s strike appeared to be blocked by Lewis Stevenson’s arm.

But he explained the confusion and admitted there was nothing he could do but dive into the action to prevent a goal.

“I jumped on it straight away, he said. “I had to react quickly because it was a bad back pass. never heard yelling ‘goalkeeper’ because it’s the derby and it’s so loud it’s chaos no one can hear anyone i yelled but because of the noise at this game we couldn’t hear, so I understand that Rocky can’t hear me.

“The most important thing is that we avoided losing a goal and I’m happy that we managed to keep a clean sheet.”

As for staying on the team, Dabrowski believes he made his case to Shaun Maloney.

He added: “I think I definitely gave the manager something to think about because I want to play and I know how good I am. I still consider myself the best goalkeeper and I want to play and I want to win. and get three league points for the team.

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