Hibs build up fitness as Martin Boyle stars for Australia

After three weeks without a competitive match, Hibs players have been getting some much-needed minutes on the pitch with a bounce match at Easter Road ahead of their Premier Sports Cup semi-final.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 12:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 1:15 pm
Scotland's Josh Doig and and Belgium's Yorbe Vertessen battle for the ball.
Scotland's Josh Doig and and Belgium's Yorbe Vertessen battle for the ball.

Head coach Jack Ross is understood to have arranged yesterday’s match against Dundee at Easter Road to build up his squad’s match sharpness in preparation for the clash with Rangers at Hampden.

Striker Christian Doidge is back in training after recovering from an Achilles problem that has ruled him out of action since mid-August and is understood to be back in contention for Sunday.

Ross will also take encouragement from Martin Boyle’s form and fitness for Australia in a 1-1 draw with China in the UAE this morning.

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The winger played for 83 minutes and set up his country’s only goal with a pinpoint cross for Mitch Duke after seven minutes, however the disappointing result means his chances of playing in the 2022 Qatar World Cup appear to be slipping away.

The Socceroos have picked up two points from their last three matches to leave hopes of automatic qualification in the balance.

Josh Doig wasn’t at his best for Scotland Under-21s in last night’s 2-0 defeat by Belgium at Tannadice, the Hibs left-back giving away a penalty and picking up a yellow card before being substituted at half time. But he will have benefitted from more minutes in his legs after playing for the full 90 against Kazakhstan on Friday.

Kevin Nisbet and Ryan Porteous have also been on international duty with Scotland, but didn’t feature in the match against Moldova or Denmark.

The Hibs squad would have benefitted from valuable game time against Dundee to rebuild their match sharpness.

Their last competitive match was the 3-1 Premiership defeat by Celtic at East Road on October 27, but the Covid-19 outbreak that ripped through the club, forcing the temporary closure of the East Mains training centre, and the international break that followed has given Ross and his squad a break.

Hibs won’t have played a competitive match for 25 days by the time they line up against Rangers on Sunday, but the head coach has been treating the break as an opportunity for a re-set following a run of four successive defeats.

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