Hibs talisman Martin Boyle speaks on Jack Ross 'guilt', Shaun Maloney, and Premier Sports Cup final

Martin Boyle believes Tuesday night’s victory over Dundee was the ideal preparation going into Sunday’s Premier Sports Cup final.

By Patrick McPartlin
Thursday, 16th December 2021, 11:15 am
Martin Boyle vies for the ball with Dundee's Jordan Marshall on Tuesday night
Martin Boyle vies for the ball with Dundee's Jordan Marshall on Tuesday night

The winger, who had started up front but was shifted out wide after Chris Cadden was forced off with an injury, was the architect of the only goal of the game, his cross met perfectly by the unfortunate Paul McMullan who headed an admittedly superb effort past his own goalkeeper ten minutes before half-time.

“It was good to raise the spirits ahead of the final with a win,” Boyle said afterwards.

“I feel like I’ve had a positive start to the season and am playing well. Everyone knows I like playing out wide, taking the ball on a run and getting at people and creating chances.

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"The second half kind of fizzled out, I wasn’t getting on the ball as much and was getting frustrated but being in those postions is what I enjoy.”

With Shaun Maloney tipped to be the next permanent manager of Hibs, Boyle reckons passages of the team’s play against the Dark Blues showed what the side is capable of.

“When we get the ball down and move it in wide areas we can really hurt teams. There will come a time when we are ruthless and some team will be on the end of it,” he predicted.

Boyle had a memorable trip to Hampden last time out, netting a first-half hat-trick as Hibs blew Rangers away in the semi-final. The Australian internationalist has been more of a provider than a goalscorer since then but after the disappointment of last season’s Scottish Cup final, the 28-year-old is keen to make the most of another date at the national stadium.

"It was a good day out the last time,” he grinned. “Cup finals don’t come around too often so we are all looking to go there and grasp the opportunity to lift silverware.

“After the hat-trick the goals have dried up for me a bit – I wasted them all in one game! But I’m happy playing, creating chances for the team and the last few games I have managed a few assists. I’m just happy contributing and playing different positions.”

As designated penalty-taker, it was Boyle who stepped up at the Tony Macaroni Arena when Hibs were awarded a spot-kick a little over a week ago, but the forward blasted his attempt well over the bar. Within hours, Jack Ross had been relieved of his duties, and Boyle admitted to a pang of guilt at the way the 45-year-old’s tenure ended.

“It wasn’t ideal. Missing the penalty, these things happen. You can go on a run of scoring penalties but defining moments like that…

"We wouldn’t necessarily have gone on to win the game and we didn’t play well, but we also had chances after that which was frustrating.

“The way we played we knew it wasn’t good enough. It’s just the way it is at the moment and it was a bit sad the way it ended.”

Asked about the prospect of playing under Shaun Maloney, the frontrunner to succeed Ross, Boyle replied: “He’s done well with the Belgian national side. It’s a big name being attracted to the club which is great – those are the people you want to play under.”