Martin Boyle has revealed how pledging himself to Hibs for the next four years is payback for the Easter Road club standing by him during the darkest days of his career.
On loan with the Edinburgh club from Dundee three years ago, Boyle suffered a serious knee injury which brought his season to a premature close just as his contract with the Dens Park outfit was coming to an end. Today, he admitted he feared the worst not knowing what the future might hold until Hibs stepped in to pay for the operation he needed before offering him a permanent two-year deal. The 24-year-old signed on for another two seasons this summer but was stunned to have that contract effectively doubled within months – meaning he’ll be pulling on a green-and-white jersey until 2021 – and he couldn’t be happier.
He said of the injury sustained in Hibs’ final Championship match of the 2014/15 season against Falkirk: “The way my injury happened and the fact I was out of contract, it was all up in the air. It was a long summer for myself but thankfully Hibs decided to pay for my operation, to get that done and take a chance on me. Hopefully I have been repaying them; it was good faith in me at the time.”
And he admitted how the memory of how Hibs stood by him at that time played a part in him quickly agreeing his latest deal. He said: “Absolutely, I could have been out of the game, back to playing part-time football and paying for my own operation. It could have been anything. I didn’t know what would have happened, but I had a meeting with Alan Stubbs, he had faith in me, I got the operation done and I haven’t looked back.”
Boyle revealed that had the worst come to the worst he could have found himself back scraping a living helping his delivery driver mum Sheila.
“When I was at Montrose I was at college doing my HNC in sports science and I was just tagging along with my mum, just getting by really, a bit of money on the side. I had to run to the doors with the parcels. It was a nightmare. It kept me fit but I was shattered going training at night. But it was good, my family did a lot for me, helping me along the way and I am very grateful to them.
“I played with Simon Murray at Montrose. He had a job as well so to see where we are now is a bit of an eye-opener. It’s kind of weird, from where I started to now playing in the Premiership but it’s really good. I just want to make my family proud and to keep learning and making myself better.”