Jack Ross issues hands-off warning as Celtic scout Hibs star Martin Boyle

Parkhead scout watched as winger helped Hibs come from behind to win

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 10:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 10:56 pm

Jack Ross has insisted Martin Boyle is the last player he’d want to see leave Easter Road after Celtic chief scout Nicky Hammond watched him engineer Hibs 2-1 victory over Hamilton Accies.

Boyle had a hand in both his side’s goals, his shot coming off the post for Christian Doidge to equalise after Alex Gogic had given Accies a first-half lead and then supplying the cross for Paul Hanlon to head home the winner.

But while determined to hold onto Boyle, Ross admitted the Australian internationalist’s current form will draw attention from other clubs.

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Hibs winger Martin Boyle, right, in action against Hamilton Accies. Picture: SNS

“I’ve said before he’s a better player than some people have given him credit for,” said the Hibs head coach.

“He’s got a lot more than pace - his intelligence is really good and he contributed towards the two goals. At the second one he stood it up rather than flashed it across but it shows he’s a player in a good place.

“He’s the last person I’d like to lose from this club. I’ve had it with players before – they’re players who get results and you enjoy watching them then people take them off you.

“But I’m not bothered with others watching him because it means he’s playing well for me.”

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Ross also admitted he’s searching for a striker to bring to Easter Road after Scotland Under-21 forward Oli Shaw quit the club to join Premiership rivals Ross County.

Shaw moved for an undisclosed fee with Hibs due to pick up a percentage of any future transfer but, revealed Ross, he was sorry to see him leave on a permanent basis.

He said: “I always felt Oli would move this month but I thought it would be on loan, then the dynamics moved quickly.

“That’s changed things a little bit but I’ve always wanted another striker in the building and we’ll try to do that before the end of January.

“I wanted Oli to play games in the second half of the season but I wasn’t necessarily wanting him to leave.

“Sometimes players have to take their destiny in their own hands. Oli burst onto the scene and has a lot of good characteristics but he has to be playing regularly. He had limited opportunities with me.”

Ross will also be looking to bring in defensive cover, with Jason Naismith ruled out for the rest of the season and Ryan Porteous out for the foreseeable future, the pair having picked up knee injuries during Sunday’s Scottish Cup match with Dundee United.

He said: “We were in a good position defensively and we’ve lost Stevie Mallan too so we need to get someone in.”

Meanwhile, Ross was bitterly disappointed by his side’s first half performance, conceding it was probably the worst since he arrived at the club.

However, his decision to replace Vykintas Slivka and Melker Hallberg with Stephane Omeonga and Joe Newell at half-time and then Scott Allan with Daryl Horgan only minutes later paid off.

He said: “We were poor in so many aspects of the game so we had to freshen things up. You need the players that come on to have a positive impact in the game and fortunately for me all three did that.

“I was not happy. We have had some frustrating periods in games but in the main I have been relatively pleased, even when we have dipped. We weren’t good but the response in the second half was excellent - I enjoyed it, it was much more like us.”