Martin Boyle back with a bang as Hibs atone for Andorra humbling with dominant display
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Despite the one-goal deficit, the tie was in the palm of Hibs’ hand as early as the 29th minute. Just as the heavens opened up over Easter Road, Christian Doidge netted an overhead kick to make it 3-0 after Martin Boyle marked his return to the first-team following over nine months out with a double.
The lightning quick Australian international did not appear to have been slowed at all by his prolonged absence and reconstructed knee. The ‘star man’ was the opening half’s shining light, though he was helped by a vintage performance from Joe Newell.
The two combined for the opener with Boyle sprinting on to a terrific through pass from the midfielder. He was then able to tap home after getting the break of the ball in a challenge with the goalkeeper. His second was almost as simple when, not long after, Newell picked him out all alone in the six-yard box.
Perhaps with the stinging criticism from last week still ringing in their ears, Hibs actually shifted the gear stick and accelerated further in the second period, netting another three within 20 minutes of the restart as they sought to make it up to the home support following the first-leg humbling.
Josh Campbell scored after a gift of a header from Raul Feher. The midfielder then netted his second of the night after Elie Youan sprinted away from Javier Duro like he wasn’t there, laying it on a plate for Campbell to score the easiest of finishes. Youan had enough of altruism after that, deciding the very next time he ran at Duro that he was going to go it alone and lash the ball into the back of the net.
Yet the night wasn’t without trouble for the home side. Incredibly, and rather worryingly, they lost both their first-choice goalkeeper and their back-up in the space of an hour. First David Marshall was forced out of the starting XI after sustaining an injury in the warm-up. He was replaced with summer signing Jojo Wollacott. The home faithful rejoiced in the news, such is their frustration with Marshall’s mounting catalogue of errors in 2023 following a gift for Inter in the opening leg, but the Ghanaian international himself lasted only 19 minutes before going down with what appeared to be a thigh injury.
Fellow summer signing Max Boruc was brought on for his debut. The 20-year-old looked a little inexperienced just before the half when he and Will Fish seemed to suffer a lack of communication, almost causing the latter to head past his new team-mate.
There were also a good few chances for the visitors on the night, including an excellently well taken goal for Gerald Artigas. Last week’s danger-man Ander El Haddadi picked up where he left off with a strong first-half showing, while Jean-Luc’s pace and dribbling caused issues. It wasn’t enough to really worry the hosts on the night, but enough to suggest the defence needs tightening up before Sunday’s league opener.