Alan Stubbs today hailed Martin Boyle’s match-winning goal in Hibs’ 2-1 success over Livingston as good as you will ever see, revealing his own reaction to the winger’s stunning 30-yard strike was simply “wow”.
Substitute Boyle struck just three minutes after Anthony Stokes had hauled Hibs level – Livi having taken a shock first-half lead through Jordan White – to give the Easter Road side their first win in six league outings.
And it also cut the gap on second-placed Falkirk to just three points, Hibs having two games in hand and the Bairns due in the Capital next Tuesday.
“It all happened so quickly,” said Stubbs of Boyle’s strike, “But I have seen the goal – we have just seen goal of the season.
“I haven’t seen a better goal all season. If you are a young boy and you want to see how to strike a ball, technique, everything then just keep watching because it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Accepting getting the three points after a miserable run of results was the most important thing, the Hibs head coach said: “We created a lot of chances and the goal we conceded was one that should have been prevented.
“You have to give Livingston a lot of credit because they are fighting for their lives and when you are set up to try to hit us on the counter and when you do score the first goal you have something to hang onto.
“There was a bit of frustration but the players showed character. They have to show character in the big games ahead of them so, if anything, this was a good test for them. The fans have been with the team all season. In order to achieve what we want to achieve I am sure they will be with us.
“Frustration is part and parcel of football, on the pitch and off it. I get frustrated so it’s only natural the fans get frustrated and players get frustrated because they want to do things right.”
Stubbs admitted seeing striker Farid El Alagui limp off just 38 minutes into his first start in almost a year was a bitter blow but expressed the hope the apparent hamstring injury wasn’t too serious and that he’d still have a big part to play in the season’s finale.
He said: “Hopefully it’s maybe only a couple of weeks at best. It doesn’t look like a full pull, just that he felt it so hopefully nothing too serious.”
Stubbs also congratulated Rangers on taking the title after they beat Dumbarton, describing them as the most consistent side over the season, revealing he’d be phoning Ibrox manager Mark Warburton and his assistant David Weir on their achievement while expressing the hope that ‘it will be us that are going up with them.”
Livingston boss David Hopkin was naturally disappointed at the final outcome but insisted his young side had given Hibs “a fright”. He said: “It was hard to take. For 75 minutes we were comfortable, our game plan was spot on. Hibs had a couple of half chances in each half but one bit of quality and they are level. And I don’t think Martin Boyle will hit another strike like that again. We are disappointed, but my players gave everything.”