Martin Boyle speaks on Jack Ross' Hibs impact, injuries and a rejuvenated Christian Doidge

Winger says not much has changed apart from freedom to play

Thursday, 28th November 2019, 6:00 am
Martin Boyle reacts to Hibs' second goal in Paisley. Pic: SNS

New Hibs head coach Jack Ross may have stuck by the same 11 players who have started each of Hibs last three matches, the team earning nine points which have seen the Easter Road side consolidate their place in the top six of the Premiership.

But, insisted Martin Boyle, Ross also has strength in depth as the Capital club’s lengthy injury list finally disappears.

Boyle himself missed three months of the season as he recovered from a knee operation and while club captain David Gray and Darren McGregor – both sidelined since August – have yet to return to action, the pair are again nearing full fitness.

Sign up to our Hibs football newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

McGregor has already resumed full training and Gray will rejoin Ross’ squad at East Mains on Monday which, barring any unforeseen mishaps will give Hibs a clean bill of health for the first time this season.

Boyle believes that will give a side which has clocked up three successive league wins for the first time since February even further impetus.

The 26-year-old, who stepped off the bench to win a late penalty which clinched the latest win away to St Mirren, said: “We’re flying at the moment and hopefully that can continue. The new manager hasn’t changed too much to be honest.

“It’s still the same team that Eddie (May) sent out at St Johnstone. I think he’s just given us a bit more freedom to play.

“It’s a shame the old manager had to go like that, but then a new manager comes in and we’re climbing the table. We’ve had quite a big turnaround and the boys are playing with confidence at the moment.”

Australian internationalist Boyle agreed that he and his team-mates have perhaps enjoyed a few more breaks than they did in the latter months of former head coach Paul Heckingbottom’s reign, but insisted: “We’re defending well too.

“We’re not giving away as many sloppy goals. We’ve got strength in depth now with all the boys coming back and players who can come off the bench and make a difference as well.”

However, to the eyes of most Hibs fans, the biggest transformation as been the sight of striker Christian Doidge – castigated for his lack of goals since his £350,000 arrival from Forest Green Rovers in the summer – suddenly netting five in three games.

Joking that “Doidgey has decided to show up”, Boyle insisted no-one within the Easter Road squad had doubted the Welshman.

He said: “We’ve been saying for ages that Christian just needed one to get him going and then he will kick on, now he’s flying.

“He’s a right workhorse, he’s unbelievable in the air and you can play off him. He’s now getting a bit of luck and having runners off him with his buld-up play and players closer to him like Flo (Kamberi) has helped as he’s playing well.

“And there are others like Scotty (Allan) playing balls in to him and he’s relishing that.”

Accepting Ross has every right not to change a winning team, Boyle nevertheless admitted he’s desperate to reclaim a starting place in the team, having been restricted to five appearances as a substitute since regaining full fitness.

He said: “We’re building some really good momentum and I just have to try to get back in the team.”

Boyle also believes Ross’ players have now got the Hibs support back onside. He said: “You can take some stick off them at times. They’re entitled to their opinion.

“But for the most part they’ve been like a 12th man. At home to Motherwell they spurred us on.”