Martin Boyle itching to start against Ross County

Hibs star feels he has finally banished the injury torment

Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 6:00 am
Martin Boyle is back in the running

After six consecutive substitute appearances for Hibs over the past five weeks, Martin Boyle feels he has finally banished the injury torment that left him kicking his heels on the sidelines or the first three quarters of 2019.

The 26-year-old attacker no longer speaks as a man intent on feeling his way back in gently to the team – he now wants his starting place back.

By the same token, however, he is alert to the fact those who have started the last four matches – and taken ten points from a possible 12 – are in command of the jerseys and are currently doing themselves justice.

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His primary objectives at present are to be ready to make an impact from the subs’ bench for the time being and also to ensure he is equipped to keep hold of his place once he is eventually deemed ready for what will be his first league start of 2019.

Asked how close he is to full fitness, Boyle said: “I’d like to say I’m close. I’m champing at the bit and itching to play but the squad have been doing well.

“All I can do at the moment is keep working hard in training and keep coming on and making an impact. Whenever I’m called upon, I need to take my chance.

“I need to go on and do my bit for the team. The boys in the team are doing well so I’ve got to take that on the chin. There are a lot of games coming up – there might be a bit of rotation but there might not be. When you’ve got the jersey and you’re doing well, you deserve to keep it. That’s always been the way.

“When you come on you could be the most important player on the pitch. We’ve had a lot of games so maybe the boys are getting a bit tired towards the end of a game so you need to be ready to come on and bring that bit of

freshness to liven things up.

“Hopefully, I can get a start soon. It can be quite frustrating sitting on the bench but when the team’s winning and doing well, there’s not much I can do about it. In terms of myself, Daryl Horgan and Stevie Mallan coming off the bench recently, we’re happy to do what we need to do for the team but we’re all working hard to get back in the starting lineup.”

After battling his way back from two serious knee injuries over the past year, Boyle is reluctant to look backwards. Instead, he is fully focused on re-establishing himself as a key man for both Hibs and Australia. “I feel like the injury’s gone now,” he said. “Since I’ve come back I’ve tried not to think about my injury. That’s the worst thing you can do. I’m still doing my rehab every day. I’m strengthening up my legs, training well and making a bit of an impact when I get on the pitch.”

Just two weeks after returning to action for his club at the end of October, Boyle was back in the international mix. The former Montrose and Dundee player made his Australia debut a year past November, but it was only last month, when introduced as a late sub in a World Cup qualifier away to Jordan that he finally made his competitive debut for the Socceroos.

Having only just started to establish himself in

Graham Arnold’s squad before his injury troubles began last December, Boyle was reassured to be called back into the national team set-up so

swiftly.

“I think they were trying to call me up for the international break before the last one but the club felt that was too early,” he said. “I was back training and I felt good, so it was a bit extra for me – it was hot weather, I was getting more training, more running and I got 20 minutes, which helped me on the road to recovery as

well. It worked both ways. I came back here and I’ve been on the bench and coming on and making an impact.

“That game locked me in to playing for Australia but that was always going to be the case. In my mind I was locked in already.

“I feel very much part of it now. They’re always keeping in touch and all the faces there are very familiar.

“It’s been brilliant since I’ve been in.”