Alan Stubbs makes claim over diving accusations directed at Hibs' Martin Boyle
The growing criticism of Martin Boyle for diving fails to take into account the speed with which the Hibernian winger drives at players, according to his former Easter Road manager Alan Stubbs.
The 27-year-old has been accused of going to ground with little contact across a number of games in recent weeks, and called out for it by more than one opposition manager. Stubbs, though, thinks the fleet-footed performer deserves to be cut a break.
“You could probably level the [diver] accusation against a lot of players. The one thing I would have to say to back up Boyley is because he’s that quick any slight movement is going to affect his momentum,” said the 49-year-old Englishman. “If a sprinter is running at full tilt and you give him a nudge, he’s going to be off balance because of his momentum.
"Has he gone down easily for a few of his penalties? Maybe. But I think it’s harsh to label him with that reputation. If you are an opposition manager you always feel hard done by when you concede a penalty but you have to recognise when you are dealing with that pace it only takes a slight movement to affect it. He’s going to get opportunities but I doubt the managers who have made certain accusations about Boyle would say the same thing if he was in their team and they were getting the decisions.”
Stubbs believes Boyle and his team-mates have a genuine chance of adding this year’s Scottish Cup to the club’s 114-year hoodoo-busting success he presided over in 2016, but that Jack Ross and his players cannot look beyond this Saturday evening’s quarter-final tie at home to Motherwell. Rangers are overwhelming tournament favourites but in 15-goal Boyle, Stubbs believes Hibs have a weapon to hurt any opponent. “With the pace he has in abundance he scares people,” the former Easter Road manager said. “One thing he’s done is improve his finishing. Sometimes when you’re that quick, you can forget about the end product. Everything’s happening at a rate of knots and you forget to control yourself for a cross or a finish. But he’s improved in that area.”