Martin Boyle hints at Hibs return as he explains Saudi Arabia decision and reflects on Easter Road career
The 28-year-old was left out of Shaun Maloney’s squad for Thursday night’s 1-0 Scottish Cup fourth-round win against Cove Rangers and confirmation of his move to the Middle East came through on Friday morning.
In a final interview with the club, the Australian internationalist spoke of coming back to Easter Road.
“It’s a new adventure that I’m looking forward to but I hope that if I do come back, I’ve got a lot to give, and if I’m welcomed back there’s no club I’d rather be at,” he said.
"You see players leaving and coming back so if there’s anything in the pipeline it’s certainly something I’d like to take up.”
Boyle departs Hibs after 265 appearances, 65 goals, one Scottish Cup, and one Scottish Championship title as well as goals against Hearts at Tynecastle and that Hampden hat-trick against Rangers.
Discussing his move he said: “Obviously it wasn’t a decision made overnight. It’s been going on for a few weeks and it felt like the right thing to do for family and personal reasons.
"Me and the club have had a great relationship since I came in. Speaking to them and to Ben Kensell has been fantastic and ultimately it wouldn’t have worked if we hadn’t been honest with each other.
"It’s a hard decision but one I’m fairly comfortable making for me and my family.”
Boyle signed a new contract in August last year that tied him to the club until the summer of 2024 but also, crucially, removed a release clause that would have allowed him to leave for a non-Scottish club for just £500,000.
"The club has been fantastic for me and I’d like to think I’ve been fantastic for them. The conversations we had were brilliant – no one was livid! They were honest with me about the valuation and with me doing so well here, it’s completely understandable,” he continued.
"I could have left for what some would say was peanuts, and that wouldn’t have been fair on the club. Most important for me is getting the transfer for the club.”
The attacker developed a reputation as a bit of a clown but knuckled down under various Easter Road managers and improved year on year.
"Not many people can say they go to work with a smile on their face and joke around but when I crossed that line I gave everything for the badge and the club," he added.
"When I first came in people probably thought I was a bit of a headless chicken but I think I have matured as a player. If you’d told me when I arrived I’d be here for seven years I’d probably have laughed at you, especially with everything I’ve achieved.
"It feels like a short seven years but I’m sure Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson might have differing opinions!
"My time here has been absolutely fantastic. I want the fans to know that I never took anything for granted and I gave everything to the club. Their support was fantastic, and even throughout the Covid-19 pandemic they were great. Hopefully in the future I can return here and repay them once again.”