Hibs paceman Martin Boyle has told opposition defenders they can kick him all they like but he’ll just keep bouncing back.
Boyle found himself the target for some rough treatment as Hibs battled back to hold Aberdeen to a draw with three Dons players booked as they struggled to cope with his speed.
Aberdeen skipper Graeme Shinnie was the first to go in referee Andrew Dallas’ book, followed in the space of seconds by team-mates Shay Logan and Andy Considine as they desperately tried to halt Boyle while Hibs went for a late winner after Jamie Maclaren had cancelled out Tommie Hoban’s first-half strike.
However, while admitting such tactics were “a bit nasty”, Boyle conceded it’s something he’s come to terms with, accepting that his turn of pace will lead to desperate measures at times
He said: “The legs are coping! It’s part and parcel of the game. If you are attacking late, they really don’t want to lose.
“It’s a bit nasty, I’m afraid – but it has to be done. I always try to keep my balance. I like shrugging off as many challenges as I can and carrying the ball for the team. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to take the whacks.”
Boyle revealed he knew what was coming when he found himself confronted by Considine after he’d shrugged shaken off substitute Logan’s bid to trip him, the second challenge sending him crashing to the turf.
He said: “I saw the big man coming a mile off! You’ve just got to brace yourself.
“There were times last year when it was hellish. But I always get up and brush it off. I like to carry the ball and take the team up the park, create chances.
“They’re not nasty ones but it’s got to be done, the little flicks and tricks.
“I’m sure I get a wee kick in when somebody is attacking us now and again. It’s part of the game.”
And, insisted Boyle, under boss Neil Lennon he and his team-mates are no longer the soft touch many said they were and are just as capable of dishing it out if need be.
He said: “The gaffer has drilled that into us. He doesn’t want the boy band team he described us as a few years ago. He wants us to be a bit more nasty and streetwise. I think he’s brought in the bodies to do that. Ryan Porteous, the big man, has come in and taken his chance – and he’s as aggressive as anyone, setting an example for the boys.
“There are times you can go under after a goal. But the way we’re playing at the moment, that won’t happen.”