Martin Boyle committed to club and country as Hibs winger has World Cup in his sights

A man who can terrify defenders with his pace and ability, you won’t see Martin Boyle for dust if a spider scuttles into his path.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 10:30 pm

“Cheers for that. I’ll be having nightmares tonight…” explains the Hibs attacker. “Me and spiders don’t get along well.

“My wife takes care of them and if she’s away for a few days, I’ll just go stay with my gran along the road!”

That phobia must have been a cause for concern when he pledged his footballing allegiance to Australia in 2018, a country that is home to an estimated 10,000 species of arachnids. But, revealing he hasn’t been terrorised by the eight-legged beasties while on international business, he says his focus has been on bigger and better things

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Dundee midfielder Charlie Adam tackles Hibs forward Martin Boyle during one of the teams' League Cup meetings last season. Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group

Constantly seeking to improve as a player, the Hibs winger, who this week agreed a new contract tying him to the Hibees until 2024, is key to the club’s ambitions. And, in helping them reach for them he hopes he will be rewarded with World Cup involvement next year.

After coming up short in the Scottish Cup final in May, Boyle bounced back by joining up with his international colleagues for four wins out of four in the second round of Qatar qualifiers. Since then he has been short-listed for Socceroo of the Year and is gearing up for the next volley of international double-headers in September, October and November, in between which he intends to help Hibs replicate and even improve on last season’s form as they press for silverware and the kind of league finish that would guarantee another shot at Europe.

The lure of trying to book Europa Conference League action through to December was the reason he was not able to sign up as one of the Aussies’ over-age players at the Olympics.

“As much as I would have liked to have gone - and it would be something that I’d never have thought I’d do, playing in the Olympics, it would have been surreal – I’m committed to Hibs and the European campaign was important as well.

“But, hopefully I’m available for Australia [in the upcoming qualifiers] and doing the business for Hibernian so I get selected and I can contribute over there. It’s a really important time for Australian football, trying to qualify for the World Cup, as it’s on the horizon.”

Hibs’ European journey may have ended sooner than they had hoped but it leaves them heading into a Premiership match on the back of a free week for the first time this season as they look to build on their early momentum.

They travel to face Dundee on Sunday, aware that James McPake’s newly-promoted men are likely to pack more of a punch than they did when the Leith side overcame them in the League Cup last season.

“They’ve won the league and added strength to their squad,” said Boyle. “It will be a tough game and they’ll have fans on their side which might get a bit more out of them. But it’s going to be a terrific game and it’s live on Sky. If you can’t get up for those games then there’s something wrong with you.

“We’ve had a positive start to the campaign and we know we can cause teams problems.”

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