Hibs head coach Neil Lennon revealed Martin Boyle has been rewarded for an impressive start to the season with a new contract which will tie the lightning-fast winger to the Easter Road club until the summer of 2021.
The 24-year-old only signed a new deal in the summer but, such has been his impact as the Capital club has marked its return to the Premiership by sitting just one point off second place, moves were quickly made to have him agree an extension.
Lennon told Thursday night’s annual shareholders’ meeting that not only has that been tied up, he’s also talking with midfielders John McGinn and Dylan McGeouch about extending their time in a green-and-white shirt.
Boyle has scored five goals this season and played a part in nine others, leading the Hibs head coach to say: “There has been a huge improvement in Martin and again on Saturday [against Partick Thistle] he was outstanding.
“He has had a brilliant season so far. He was always on his backside when I first came in but he has learned to stay on his feet a lot more and he looks as if he has done a lot of work during the summer.
“Martin has great pace and power. He has a goal in him, plenty of assists in him and he has agreed to sign an extension on his contract that we are delighted with.”
In a question-and-answer session in which chairman Rod Petrie claimed few clubs could have sustained three years of Championship football in the way Hibs had – their final season as they won promotion resulting in a £275,000 loss – Lennon was also asked about the futures of McGeouch, who is out of contract in the summer, and McGinn for whom the Easter Road outfit have already rebuffed offers from Nottingham Forest.
Lennon said: “We are talking with Dylan verbally – there’s nothing in writing just yet. He knows that we would like him to extend his stay. He’s in the final year of his contract, there’s verbally an agreement from us to extend it, whether he wants to extend his stay. He’s in the final year of his contract, there’s verbally an agreement from us to extend it, whether he wants to take that up is up to him.”
Lennon admitted Scotland internationalist McGinn could be in demand in the January transfer window but insisted Hibs were under no pressure to sell the 22-year-old, who still has 18 months of his existing deal to run. And like McGeouch, he’s hopeful the former St Mirren player can be persuaded to extend his stay at Hibs. He said: “I’ve already spoken to John on a personal level about doing that but he has not got back to me yet so we’ll see how that pans out. He is playing exceptionally well and is getting better.”
Lennon insisted there has been no contact from any other club regarding McGinn but conceded he wouldn’t be surprised if that were to continue to be the case, saying: “We are in a healthy position but every player has his price. Realistically, it is eventually going to be difficult to keep him but, if he is going to go, we are in a strong position. We rebuffed Nottingham Forest in the summer. We explained that to John and he accepted it. He’s enjoying his football, he’s got a platform to play, he has the status of being a Scottish internationalist and hopefully a regular one as well. We will keep dialogue open between John and his representative. There are talks going on.”