Father-to-be Martin Boyle aims to be the daddy on the pitch
The news that Martin Boyle was to become a father for the first time was a sobering moment.
“It cured the hangover,” revealed the Easter Road winger as he recounted how his fiancée Rachel Small, the Hibs Ladies and Scotland midfielder, told him of the impending happy event.
On a serious note, however, Boyle conceded that for all new parents the birth of their baby, which is due in early September, will be a life-changing event but one which has simply added to what has been probably the most enjoyable period of his footballing career.
Few would argue that the former Montrose and Dundee player is currently producing his best and most consistent form, reflected in the fact Hibs boss Neil Lennon awarded him a new four year contract only a few months ago, a deal which Boyle agreed will provide security for his growing family.
“It’s great news,” he said, “We’ve been trying for a while and now it’s happening. We’ve had the scans and we heard the heart beat for the first time the other day, so it’s all positive.
“It was brilliant, I was delighted and the family are chuffed and we all can’t wait for it to come around.”
Having spent years in the laddish confines of a football changing room, Boyle conceded he might have a bit of “growing up” to do now although team-mates Ofir Marciano and Paul Hanlon, who have recently become fathers, are already providing plenty of tips of how to cope.
“It’s a hard one,” the 24-year-old admitted. “It’s definitely a life-changing thing. Hopefully I can calm down now although the other boys have been saying ‘no chance’.
“But all joking aside, I’m in a happy place at the moment. The football is going well and hopefully that can continue. It’s been a fantastic season for me and the team.
“The baby news came after the new contract but it was great for me to get tied down when I did. As soon as the gaffer told me he wanted me to stay I was desperate to get it done.
“He has really brought the best out of me and I feel I am playing well at the moment. Everything has come along at once, hopefully it doesn’t all go downhill from here.”
Under Neil Lennon Hibs have confounded many in this their first season back in the Premiership following a three-year absence, the Capital club sitting fourth in the table but, like Boyle, with ambitions to improve again.
Games against Partick Thistle, Hamilton and Ross County, all eminently winnable, over the next eight days before the top flight split, present opportunities for Boyle and his team-mates not only to keep the pressure on Aberdeen and Rangers ahead of them but to narrow the gap before those final crucial five matches.
He said: “We want to push on, there’s a good opportunity for us in the coming weeks. We have massive games coming up that we need to approach properly and earn the right to win.
“There are teams chasing us who want to be in the position we are in so we need to be aware of what is behind us and kick on even more.”
Boyle, who used the two-week break as Scotland played Costa Rica and Hungary to shake off an Achilles’ problem which had been troubling him for a few weeks, similarly doesn’t want to rest on his laurels from a purely personal point of view.
He said: “I feel I have been a lot more consistent this season, I have made a lot more goalscoring opportunities but my end product could be a bit better.
“I know that myself and I am working hard to improve every day in training. But I am getting into those positions and if I can improve on that I can take my game to another level.”