Ofir Marciano admits quitting his second home at Hibernian will be tough – but he must do it as he seeks to squeeze the maximum from his career.
The Israeli stopper has knocked back boss Jack Ross’ offer of a new contract and will depart Easter Road in the summer.
The 31-year-old has dreams of making a switch to the Premier League and as tough as it will be to wave goodbye to Leith after five years in the capital, he knows he cannot afford to wait any longer if he wants to land a major move.
The former Ashdod keeper – who joined Hibs in 2015 – said: “It’s not an easy decision for me. I’ve had lots of thoughts about this because this club is like a second home for me.
“I’ve been here for five years and I never expected to be here for so long.
“But football is a short career and you want to maximise your opportunities – and I’m at the stage in my career where I’d like to try that.
“It’s a tough call but it’s something that I have to do for myself and my family.
“It was really important for me to be honest with the manager and the club as early as possible so the club could get ready for next season when I won’t be here and find their solution.”
Ross is on the hunt for a new goalkeeper but he hopes Kevin Nisbet’s Scotland call-up will help the striker rediscover his goalscoring touch.
The 24-year-old was overlooked by Steve Clarke earlier in the season despite being in a rich vein of form in front of goal, with 13 strikes netted by the middle of January.
But his effort in Saturday’s win against Ross County was his first goal in nine games and came as he was finally rewarded with a place in the national team squad.
Now Ross hopes the jubilant frontman can rediscover his swagger, starting with Saturday’s trip to Livingston.
He said: “I think it just galvanises him even more. Since the announcement I’ve seen him growing and becoming confident and sharp.
“He should have that controlled swagger about him. He just needs to keep backing it up by playing well and scoring goals.
“He’s been recognised by a really good manager in Steve Clarke and deemed worthy of being in a squad that has some really good players and has qualified for a major tournament.
“He should take enormous confidence from that and hopefully we’ll see the benefits of that, starting tomorrow.”