Hibs' Jake Doyle-Hayes speaks on VAR, John Lundstram challenge, and when team will click
For such a tenacious midfielder, Hibs’ Jake Doyle-Hayes is quite softly spoken when it comes to media duties. But the Irishman perks up when asked about his challenge on John Lundstram in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Rangers.
The Cavan man was booked for catching the former Sheffield United man late in the first half, only for his Light Blues counterpart to be dismissed for a similar challenge on Martin Boyle in the second half.
"You see them most weeks, someone taking a player down on the breakaway. There was no intent to hurt a player, on my side or Lundstram’s side, so I think they’re both just yellow cards,” he says.
“The referee got it wrong but that happens.”
A fair assessment from Doyle-Hayes, who insists that at no point did he think Willie Collum was going to produce a red card for his challenge – which made the official’s Lundstram decision all the more surprising. That red card was overturned on appeal but it naturally sparked another conversation bout VAR, which is due to be introduced to Scottish football midway through the season.
Asked about the prospect of in-game reviews, Doyle-Hayes is pragmatic – unless it concerns his preferred team, Liverpool: “If it gets the correct decisions then I suppose it’s something that will help the game.
“You can see it both ways. You don’t want the flow of the game to be disrupted, but if it gets decisions right then that’s what you want, you want the right decisions in the game.
“If I’m watching Liverpool and they get a goal from it then I suppose I’m happy. You can see it both ways, but if you get good decisions, or the right decisions, then that’s what you want.”
Doyle-Hayes has played in every league match for Hibs so far, but the visit of Rangers was his first start of the campaign, having come on as a substitute in the previous matches against St Johnstone, Livingston, and Hearts.
His display against Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side should see him hold onto his starting berth for the trip to Paisley against former employers St Mirren where he could come up against former Easter Road colleague Alex Gogic, who signed a permanent deal with the Buddies after a loan spell in the second half of last season.
Although Doyle-Hayes concedes that Hibs are yet to put in a complete performance, he doesn’t believe the team is too far away from everything clicking into place – and the comeback from injury of some key players such as Kyle Magennis and Kevin Nisbet can be a big help, as can Martin Boyle’s return.
“There are obviously some injuries and those boys are going to be a big boost when they come back,” Doyle-Hayes points out.
“And getting Boyley back is a big boost for any team; any team in the league would be delighted to have him.
“Even the boys the manager has brought in this season, they’re really adding something to the team.
“So, I don’t think we’re far away at all from everything clicking into place.
“We just need to put it all together. We’ve had time to gel now so we need to put it into a performance on the pitch.”