EOIN DOYLE admitted today that he’s had to spend hours in the gym bulking up to deal with the physical nature of the game in Scotland.
The Irish striker joined Hibs from Sligo Rovers in December 2010 but found it difficult to make an impression and was in and out of the side as he struggled to adapt after making the move from Irish football.
However this season Doyle has begun to show the prowess that convinced manager Pat Fenlon to bring him to Easter Road, featuring in all nine of Hibs’ SPL matches so far and scoring four goals.
The player himself believes that is down, in part at least, to his improved physical presence and said: “I had to build myself up a bit when I first came over from Ireland because I was a bit lightweight.
“It was something I knew I had to do right at the start when I came into the Scottish game from Irish football and the facilities were all on the doorstep.
“Scottish football is a lot more physical than the Irish league.
“I’m glad I bulked up as it has stood me in good stead so far and I am not going to stop.
“The Irish league is a very competitive league but it is a step up in class coming to the SPL. The standard is good in the SPL and the game is definitely quicker over here.”
Doyle is loving life at the top end of the table instead of battling to avoid the drop like last season. Keeping up with the likes of Celtic brings its own pressures but Doyle would take that all day long if it meant bringing some success back to Easter Road.
He added: “Last season Hibs were a different club in terms of the results and we are at the top end of the table now.
“We are doing well at the moment and I reckon we can push on and stay up there for the rest of the season.
“Up at the top is where Hibs want to be and that is the pressure that players like.
“I don’t think it will be an issue as we have played against most of the teams in the SPL now and we are as good as anybody else.
“Being at the top of the league is a different headache from where we were last season but that has gone and we are focused on the now and the future.
“It was hard to get confidence last season when we were losing every other week.
“The results this season have bred confidence and even when we are not playing well the lads have been able to dig it out.
“We have a great team spirit here now and we can’t complain.
“The Celtic game where we drew 2-2 at Parkhead was a big turning point in the season for us. In the past we may have folded but the draw against Celtic was the clearest indication yet that things have changed and Hibs are a different animal this season.”