Hibs have received a boost with the news Easter Road flying machine Martin Boyle could return to action in next weekend’s Premiership match against Dundee at Dens Park.
Boyle’s impressive start to the season – head coach Neil Lennon having described him as “having taken his game onto another level” – was brought to an abrupt halt when he suffered a training ground accident that forced him to sit out the 3-2 victory over Rangers at Ibrox.
The initial diagnosis on the ankle injury sustained when he attempted to block a cross from team-mate Vykintas Slivka during a session at East Mains was that the 24-year-old could be out for up to a month, raising the prospect he wouldn’t play again until after the upcoming international break.
But now Lennon has revealed Boyle is making a quicker than anticipated recovery which, if it continues at its current rate, could put him into consideration when Hibs visit his old club a week tomorrow.
Lennon said: “Martin suffered a high ankle sprain when he went to block a ball. There was a lot of swelling around the top of the ankle but he is recovering. We hope to have him back before the international break – we may have him fit for next week.”
Meanwhile, Lennon has insisted his players won’t have revenge on their minds this afternoon as they face Hamilton for the first time since being relegated to the Championship three years ago, beaten in the newly introduced play-offs by the Accies.
He said: “A week is a long time in football, three years is ancient history. We’ve made a great start to the season but our thoughts, more than anything, are on getting the three points. In terms of revenge, I doubt that will be in anyone’s minds.”
Both Lennon and defender Lewis Stevenson admitted Hibs have been guilty in the past of letting themselves down in the wake of impressive results such as that they enjoyed last weekend, but both were adamant the Easter Road side were determined that wouldn’t be the case today.
Lennon said: “I hope the players will get a real lift and buzz but we won’t be treating Hamilton any differently to Rangers. We aren’t in the position to do that, not that we would.”
Stevenson conceded the wins over Partick Thistle and Rangers may bring some added pressure in terms of expectation with another bumper crowd expected, but he said: “I think we’ve got to the stage now where we realise every game is only worth three points.
“You don’t play at Ibrox often and it is a totally different atmosphere. But you need to cope with that and you need to cope with the pressure that will be on us to win against Hamilton. We’ve handled that well over the last few years and I am sure it will be the same today.
“Even in the past, when we’ve not been doing as well, we’ve been able to raise ourselves against the so-called bigger teams like Rangers, Celtic and Hearts. But you need to keep winning week-in, week-out. You can’t win at Ibrox and then be beaten the next week.”
And as pleasing as the start to the season might have been, Stevenson insisted nothing had yet been achieved, saying: “A run of ten games, picking up as many points as possible, will be the testament to where we are. You can’t judge anything yet. Once we’ve played everyone once we’ll have a good reading.”