Ross Laidlaw surprise at Hibs bow against Brondby in Europa League

Ross Laidlaw
Ross Laidlaw (left) was frustrated as he failed to keep out any of the Brondby spot-kicks

Ross Laidlaw admits he had to pinch himself as he made his Hibs debut in their Europa League second qualifying round second leg win over Brondby.

Although Hibs lost on penalties after a 1-1 aggregate score, the experience was one Laidlaw had not dared dream of.

He last played in a 5-4 loss to Annan Athletic in April 2015 while on loan at Elgin City from Raith Rovers.

"It's a big difference playing at Borough Briggs compared to playing away to Brondby," said the 24-year-old.

Having returned to Raith, where he failed to dislodge first-choice keeper Kevin Cuthbert, he suffered a torn kidney in an innocuous training ground incident last December.

"There was a concern that, with the severity of the injury, I might never get back to play football," acknowledged Laidlaw.

"It took six months to get back and I'm just delighted that I'm fit again.

"My main aim was to get back to training but obviously I'm delighted I got the chance to play and I think I did myself justice."

Ross Laidlaw
Laidlaw made a string of saves as Hibs drew level on aggregate

Laidlaw's inclusion came at the expense of Otso Virtanen, whose first-minute mistake in the first leg led to the costly loss of an away goal to Brondby.

"I feel for Otso," added Laidlaw. "I've been there myself many a time when I've made a mistake and dropped out the team. But I know he's a really good goalkeeper.

"I see him in training every day and I really rate him. He's not in the Finnish under-21 team for nothing so he'll bounce back from it, definitely."

Laidlaw produced two outstanding saves against Brondby to help his team take the Danes to penalties.

And though that should be enough to ensure he keeps the number one jersey in the short term at least, it's not something he's had a chance to reflect upon.

"I'm not really looking into that," he stressed. "I'm just glad I played and did really well.

"I'm not looking at the next few games or the start of the [league] season. I'm just concentrating on doing well in training and taking it from there."

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