Hearts cup-winning hero explains what makes Martin Boyle so good and how best to stop Hibs danger man
Tynecastle favourite Ryan McGowan sang the praises of his international team-mate Martin Boyle ahead of Sunday’s Edinburgh derby.
The Hibs winger goes into the match having scored a goal in each of the first four league games as Jack Ross’ side sit level with Hearts on ten points at the top of the cinch Premiership table.
The two sides meet in Gorgie tomorrow in the first all-Edinburgh clash of the season and McGowan, who scored against Hibs in the 5-1 Scottish Cup final win in 2012, admits he thoroughly enjoys watching Boyle in action, in spite of his allegiances.
He told Scarves Around the Funnel: “He’s just very direct. I love watching him play, even though he plays for Hibs.
“He knows what he’s very good at. He doesn’t do anything he can’t do. He just gets at defenders and he asks questions.
“Sometimes wingers try to do too much. He knows he’s got pace so he just knocks it past.
“Before he possibly struggled with his final ball or goalscoring, but he’s improved on that. His stats last season were tremendous, something like 15 goals and 15 assists, and he’s started on fire this year as well.”
McGowan has both played against Boyle at club level and during training for the Australian national side and he added some words of advice for the Hearts defenders.
He said: “I’d be telling them to get as tight as possible. It sounds crazy due to his speed, but I’d be telling the left centre-back to leave himself enough room to get across if Boyle gets that big touch down the line.
“You’d also tell your strikers and midfielders not to allow the Hibs midfielders to get him the ball. If the left-back plays it into centre-mid, nine times out of ten that’s going to be a long diagonal to Boyle. You have to be ready for that.
“Let him know he’s in a game. If he beats you, fine, it happens. But the worst thing you can do is let him build up some speed running at you. If you let him, as a full-back, take a couple of touches then he can cut inside, he can go down the line; you want to influence him into going into areas you want him to go into.”