Martin Boyle has insisted he’s thriving on the competition of having seven strikers competing for just two places in Alan Stubbs’ side.
And he admitted he feared losing his jersey after Dominique Malonga had stepped off the bench to replace him and clinch Hibs’ stunning League Cup victory over Premiership leaders Aberdeen with a thrilling solo goal.
But head coach Stubbs put his faith in Boyle again as Malonga returned to the bench for the visit of St Mirren and was rewarded as the former Dundee player dived to head home an equalising goal after Buddies’ hitman Calum Gallagher had silenced the home crowd.
It was Boyle’s first goal of the season – although he conceded he should have had more in a game which ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw which saw Hibs slip further behind Championship title rivals Rangers.
He said: “I was delighted to get the goal, it’s been a long time coming. I thought we’d really pick things up in the second half, we had chances but couldn’t convert them so it’s a case of two points dropped.”
Despite his goal, Boyle was adamant he isn’t taking a starting place in this weekend’s trip to Queen of the South for granted – as he revealed he’d worried Malonga’s goal against the Dons might have seen their roles reversed for the visit of St Mirren.
He said: “There’s a lot of players on the bench and others left out who are fighting for their place so you worry about that. You know if you have a bad game then there’s plenty of others wanting that chance which is a good thing because it makes you play better.”
And Boyle knows the fight to keep his jersey is set to get even tougher as strikers such as James Keatings, Henri Anier, Farid El Alagui, Islam Feruz and Jamie Insall return to full fitness.
He said: “There’s competition all over, there’s two players for every position but up front it’s seven for two places. So the pressure is on, we are very strong attacking-wise. Some of the guys have picked up little niggles but they’re itching to get back which will make it even harder.
“You are looking over your shoulder but you don’t go into games worrying about that. Knowing that if you play badly you are likely to find someone else taking the jersey just makes you want to kick on and play even better.”