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Dublin: 2°C Friday 26 February 2021
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Cork youngster 'enjoyed every minute' of his eventful debut against Celtic

Jaze Kabia helped Livingston to a draw, as well as being involved in an incident that saw Scott Brown sent off.

livingston-v-celtic-scottish-premiership-toni-macaroni-arena Scott Brown appeals to the ref as Livingston's Jaze Kabia feels the effects of being struck by Celtic's captain. Source: PA

JAZE KABIA WAS beaming last night after his first outing for Livingston ended in a 2-2 draw at home to Scottish Premiership champions Celtic.

Having been introduced as a 58th-minute substitute, the 20-year-old winger “enjoyed every minute” of his debut – despite being struck by Scott Brown in an off-the-ball incident that resulted in the Celtic captain being shown a red card.

Kabia also went close to marking the occasion by scoring the winner, only to see his shot on goal in the 76th minute drift narrowly wide of the post.

It was a night to remember nevertheless for the Irish youngster, who joined Livingston earlier this month following an 18-month spell with Shelbourne. 

“I thought we did very well, to be fair. We limited their chances,” he said of Livingston’s performance against Neil Lennon’s side.

“On a personal note it was unbelievable to make my debut against Celtic. Being from Ireland, everyone in the country is a Celtic fan, so I couldn’t have asked for a better opponent to make my debut against.

inpho_01716128 Jaze Kabia at Shelbourne. Source: INPHO

“Just to put on the Livingston shirt and play in the Tony Macaroni [Arena], I enjoyed every minute of it.” 

When asked about his clash with Brown, Kabia said: “I basically went to press him and he just laid it off, so I went around his blindside and he just swung his elbow and caught me on the nose. Fortunately the ref caught him and he got his marching orders.”

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Kabia, whose father Jason had a successful career in the League of Ireland with the likes of Cork City and Waterford, was raised in the southside Cork suburb of Grange.

His schoolboy career started with Corinthians, where he played alongside best friend Adam Idah, the current Republic of Ireland international and Norwich City striker.

He was first exposed to League of Ireland football at Cobh Ramblers, before moving to Shels and helping the club win the First Division title in 2019.

Kabia played in 11 of the Tolka Park outfit’s 18 games in the 2020 Premier Division campaign, which culminated in relegation back to the second tier.

inpho_00017335 Jason Kabia, Jaze's father, was an FAI Cup winner with Cork City in 1998. Source: INPHO

He’ll now be keen to emulate Wes Hoolahan, who used his time at Livingston to launch a successful career in the UK after leaving Shels for the Scottish club in 2006.

Kabia, who’s contracted to Livingston until June 2023, added: “I’ve just got to keep my head down, keep working hard in training and hopefully it takes me to where I want to be.”

Livingston, who sit in fifth place in the Scottish Premiership, are undefeated in 10 games in all competitions heading into Sunday’s League Cup semi-final against St Mirren at Hampden Park.

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Paul Dollery

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