Kevin Dabrowski can be Hibs hero as Easter Road legend urges stopper to match Craig Gordon’s Hearts standards

Jim McArthur says Kevin Dabrowski may again have to match the lofty standards of Craig Gordon’s heroics to earn Hibs derby glory.

The Easter Road No.1 enjoyed a dream debut for the first team when his outstanding display against Hearts on home soil two months ago earned him a clean sheet and his side a point.

With five more games in Shaun Maloney’s side under his belt since that phenomenal effort, Dabrowski is set to go back into the capital crunch tomorrow across the city at Tynecastle.

McArthur, who made 296 appearances as keeper for Shaun Maloney’s side, knows the size of the task facing the 23-year-old in Gorgie.

The Leith hero didn’t lose a game to Hearts during his lengthy career at the club and feels Dabrowski will again need to stand tall with the home team the favorites going into the eagerly-awaited third Edinburgh showdown of the season.

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Opposite number Gordon has been doing it for two decades but young gun Dabrowski faces a fresh test and McArthur insists he should be inspired by the occasion and situation.

He said: “It wasn’t just a case of things going to plan for Kevin in that debut, he had a really good game in a high-pressure scenario.

“He got man of the match and Kevin fully deserved the award.

“Craig did well too, and that is to be expected, but Kevin did especially well given it was his debut.

“I’m not sure what the situation is with Matt Macey but Hibs are going to need a strong display from Kevin again. You look at the best keepers, they don’t make many mistakes and that’s what you want.

“With Kevin, you cannot tie him to any mistakes so far in his Hibs career.

“You can’t point at a goal and say, ‘oh look at that when he did that wrong’.

“He’s a really good shotstopper and had a couple of good saves against United to take into the derby games, so he should have plenty of confidence.

“Playing in that stadium is great. The fans are close. It is testing, no doubt.

“Every goalie should be above it but it’s a test. Craig will have a half when he plays down the end with all the Hibees behind the goal but he’s used to it.

“For Kevin, it’ll be a brand new experience for him at Tynecastle. But every goalie should be inspired. It should lift you to greater heights.”

Tomorrow’s crunch is the first of a double-header between the teams which will have a huge bearing in the outcome of their respective seasons.

Seven days later, the Edinburgh pair headed across the M8 to square-up in a Scottish Cup semi-final with a potential trophy chance on the line.

Hibs need a positive result at Tynecastle tomorrow to book a top-six spot, while the last-four showdown could open the door to another domestic final.

McArthur says it is a huge opportunity for Maloney and his troops to surge positivity through the entire club if they can grab back-to-back wins.

He said: “The importance of these games can not be underplayed.

“By the time they are over, Hibs could be in the top four and in the Scottish Cup Final. As opposed to out of the top six and out of the Cup.

“Those facts just underline the importance without the need to say anything else.”

Maloney’s team went into the clashes having won just one of their six matches in a stuttering run of form.

But McArthur feels there were reasons for optimism during last weekend’s home draw against Dundee United.

He said: “In the second half against United, Hibs could and maybe should’ve won it.

“As I look at Hibs at the moment, I sense they might need a bit more strength. But Harry Clarke went in last week and did well on that front. Paul Hanlon has it and Joe Newell played well against United.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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