Kamberi bounces back from Albania disappointment
FLO KAMBERI reported for international duty dreaming of crossing swords with Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and N’Golo Kante.
Instead, the Swiss-born striker found himself thwarted by an infuriating tangle of red tape in his bid to switch allegiances to Albania.
However, Kamberi can afford to be philosophical about a frustrating maiden experience as part Eddy Reja’s national side.
After all, Reja and his assistant, former Rangers defender Sergio Porrini, are bound to come calling again if the Hibernian star continues to turn in performances such as the one he did on Saturday afternoon.
“I was delighted to get my first call-up and I trained with the team – but I then found out that the documents from Switzerland were not ready,” said Kamberi, inset. “At least I was there, I met everybody and had a good week there.
“It was very frustrating to be ruled out because of paperwork. I did everything on my part to be ready, I went there and wanted to make my debut.
“I think the Swiss (Football Association) had to send some documents to FIFA and they didn’t do it.
“I had already spoke with our coach [Reja] and he showed me how he wanted me to play.
He told me: ‘I want you to start against Andorra and play some part against the French’.
“So when the documents were not ready, that was annoying. But life goes on. I just have to be patient, now I’m back at Hibs, I’ll do my best here and hope to be back at the level next year.”
If Kamberi did harbour any lingering frustration regarding the Albania affair, he took it out on Motherwell.
He played a pivotal part in restoring parity following Liam Polworth’s early opener for the
Steelmen, slipping a wonderful through pass to Joe Newell. Although the midfielder’s low drive was saved by Mark Gillespie, Christian Doidge was on hand to bundle home his fourth goal in two games.
Kamberi completed the turnaround himself, showing superb composure in a congested penalty area to slam a shot into the roof of the net following some marvellous build-up play involving man of the match Scott Allan and Jason Naismith.
Daryl Horgan then sealed the win by firing a third goal beyond Gillespie in the dying embers.
This was Hibs’ first league win at Easter Road since the opening day of the season and the manner of the triumph – open, attacking, free-flowing – was night and day compared to the latter days of the Paul Heckingbottom era.
And Kamberi has no qualms about highlighting the difference in approach since the Englishman’s departure.
“Everyone is very motivated and, in my opinion, we’re now playing a very good formation,” explained Kamberi. It’s a 4-4-2 diamond with two up top - and I think the most successful times the club has had was always with two up front. That made the difference.”
If Kamberi already admires Ross’s tactical acumen and philosophy, the feeling is mutual.
“I knew the manager from last summer because he tried to sign me,” smiled Kamberi. “When I saw that he was appointed as the new manager here I was very happy because he is a good person. He knows what he’s doing and he prepared us very well for the Motherwell game. Everyone can look forward now.”
Conversely, Stephen Robinson was left to rue his side’s lack of potency in the final third.
“Some of our decision making in that last third was a bit selfish when we should have rolled the ball and set someone else up,” he rued.