Lee Johnson makes Martin Boyle injury admission as Hibs talisman eyes World Cup

Lee Johnson has confirmed that Martin Boyle will be fit enough for the World Cup, but says his chances of appearing for Hibs before that are only 50-50.

The Australian international forward wasn’t risked in the 4-1 defeat by Aberdeen at Pittodrie and Johnson fears Tuesday’s match against Ross County might come too soon. The Hibs boss also suggested that Boyle won’t feature on the artificial surface at Rugby Park against Kilmarnock on Saturday due to the nature of his joint injury.

Boyle will be able to travel to Qatar with Graham Arnold’s squad ahead of their tournament opener against France on November 22 after fears of a more serious injury were allayed.

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“The injury is difficult for us to take, particularly at this moment,” the Hibs boss told BBC Sportsound. “But it is best case scenario. He’s got a minor joint issue and at the moment we’re just offloading that for a couple of days to see how he responds. With a bit of luck he might get one game in for us, but he will certainly head out to the World Cup if selected.”

Martin Boyle is regarded as 50-50 to feature against Ross County on Tuesday. Picture: Rob Casey / SNS

The Socceroos forward, who has scored five goals this season, faced an anxious wait to learn the extent of an injury sustained in the Easter Road side’s 3-0 victory over St Mirren last weekend, with medical staff from club and country accompanying the 29-year-old to Manchester to visit a specialist earlier this week. But he has been given the green light for the world’s biggest sporting event. Johnson, who picked Ewan Henderson in a No10 role behind Mykola Kukharevych against Aberdeen, is keeping his fingers crossed that he will have the 29-year-old available for Tuesday against Ross County.

“That’s the hope, it’s definitely not the expectation,” he explained. “We’ll have to see with that one. The final game [before the World Cup break] is Kilmarnock away, which is on the astroturf, which is never ideal at this standard of football. But it is what it is. We have Ross County on Tuesday, which may or may not come too soon. So that one, I would say, is probably 50-50.”