Martin Boyle hopeful of Hibs European impact after Blackpool appearance

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Hibs talisman Martin Boyle is hopeful of being called upon in the second leg of the side’s Europa Conference League qualifier against Inter Club d’Escaldes this week.

The 30-year-old was on the bench for the disastrous 2-1 defeat in the first leg in Andorra, with manager Lee Johnson confirming before the game that he would be utilising Boyle more as a cheerleader than an impact sub. Joe Newell’s injury-time goal handed Hibs a lifeline after goals from Adrià Gallego and Jean Luc Assoubre had given the hosts a stunning two-goal lead and they will hope to turn the tie on its head in Leith this Thursday night.

Boyle made his first appearance in a Hibs shirt since October last year when he played the first 45 minutes of the Capital club’s final pre-season friendly against Blackpool on Saturday. The visitors fell to a 3-0 defeat at Bloomfield Road but the Australian internationalist insisted the main takeaway was getting back on the pitch.

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"It felt really good to get the confidence and adrenaline going and just to get that general buzz again after ten months,” he said afterwards. "It's been a long time out but it was nice to play my part and important to get minutes. Hopefully I can get more and keep getting stronger and push to get myself back in the team."

Having been an unused sub in Andorra, Martin Boyle is keen to make an impact this Thursday. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS GroupHaving been an unused sub in Andorra, Martin Boyle is keen to make an impact this Thursday. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS Group
Having been an unused sub in Andorra, Martin Boyle is keen to make an impact this Thursday. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS Group

Admitting that he may well have been scored off the physios’ Christmas card list, Boyle revealed his impatience over the last few weeks as he chases a return to first-team action.

"It was always the idea to get 45 minutes on Saturday; there have been a few plans and they've changed a bit back and forth,” he explained. "The physios will hate me; I've been a bit impatient and I am champing at the bit to play. I need to trust the physios and I've been told by a lot of people to be a bit patient. But I'm not really a patient guy! I just need to trust the people around me and do what's best for me."

Provided he is afforded a clean bill of health after his showing against the Seasiders – ‘I feel fresh, I feel good’ – Boyle could give his manager something to think about ahead of Thursday. It would have been difficult enough watching on from the bench last week had Hibs been victorious but given the performance and result it was even harder.

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"Thursday was difficult. It wasn't nice to see; the performance wasn't the best but the goal at the end was crucial,” he continued. "In my eyes I was fit to play and when you're sitting on the bench and the manager doesn't want to take the chance it's tough. The gaffer said he took me along as a cheerleader but obviously it didn't work!

"I knew the plan but in the back of my mind I did think there might be a chance I could get minutes, but it comes down to the manager and his decision. He could easily have put me on but it was a quick turnaround to get minutes today, try to get up to speed. I want to play as many minutes as I can, but if I'm called upon on Thursday I will be more than ready."

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