When you think of a Lithuanian footballer playing their club football in Edinburgh, naturally you’d look at Hearts under their crazy Vladimir Romanov era. However, Vykintas Slivka’s goalscoring record is a welcome addition for Hibernian.
In July 2017, the Hibees announced the signings of both Slivka and Deivydas Matulevičius. Both full Lithuania internationals, one’s Hibernian career outshines the other when it comes to goalscoring.
Yet, it’s not the obvious choice. Striker Matulevičius was released in January 2018 after netting once for the Hibees in a 5-0 League Cup victory over then League 1 outfit Ayr United.
After signing from Italian giants Juventus, Slivka’s goalscoring record for the Cabbage is bizarre, yet brilliant, in some aspects. His most recent goal came after manager-less Hibs coasted past Raith Rovers 3-1 to set up a Scottish Cup quarter final against Celtic.
Big teams? Big pressure? No problem
The Hoops were one of only two teams Slivka had scored against before Rovers. The other? Celtic’s great rivals Rangers. The 23 year-old had only scored against the Old Firm for Hibs prior to last week. What makes it even more intriguing is the fact that every time he has, his side has won as he told Edinburgh Evening News.
Whilst it must be frustrating given you can only play the Old Firm every so often, it is a fascinating omen. Just a month after signing on the dotted line, he scored as Hibs beat Rangers 3-2 at Ibrox. This was a catalyst for what looked like an excellent start to the season. However, his only other Hibs goal that season came in a 2-1 victory over Celtic at Easter Road. Hibs eventually went on to secure European qualification by finishing fourth.
In December, he helped Hibs on their way to beat Celtic 2-0. The midfielder opened the scoring after a matter of seconds in a win over Brendan Rodgers’ team in the capital again.
So, considering the options Hibs had in midfield last season, he did pretty well whenever he was called upon. Losing the likes of John McGinn, Dylan McGeouch and the recently resigned Scott Allan would hurt anyone in this league. However, this should help his cause and he should be cementing a place in the starting XI every week.
Psychology is a massive aspect of football. If Hibs get their noses in front courtesy of Slivka, they must feel they have every chance of finishing a match successfully. Hibs will just have to hope it happens more frequently.