Martin Boyle of Hibs set to go head-to-head with Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi as international break comes to an end
Hibs’ in-form attacker Martin Boyle will go head-to-head with Celtic forward Kyogo Furuhashi when Australia meet Japan in Saitama on Tuesday – and the Socceroos could spell trouble for the Samurai Blue if they consign them to a third defeat in four matches.
World Cup qualifying losses to Oman and Saudi Arabia have left Japan struggling in the Asian Football Confederation Third Round Group B and manager Hajime Moriyasu’s coat is on a rather shoogly peg going into the must-win encounter against Graham Arnold’s side.
Australia will be hoping to continue their impressive run of victories in World Cup qualifying with last Thursday’s 3-1 victory over Oman their 11th on the bounce, with Boyle on the scoresheet for his fifth goal in nine games for his country.
Meanwhile, Hibs’ on-loan Middlesbrough defender Nathan Wood captained England Under-20s to a 1-1 draw with Italy before playing the first 45 minutes of the Young Lions’ 5-0 win against the Czech Republic on Monday afternoon.
Boyle and Wood’s Easter Road colleague Alex Gogic was an unused substitute for Cyprus in their 3-0 defeat by Croatia and made an appearance off the bench in the second half of their 2-2 draw with Malta on Monday night.
Kevin Nisbet stands a chance of starting for Scotland as they take on the Faroe Islands in Tórshavn on Tuesday night. The Hibs forward could get the nod following Che Adams’ withdrawal from the squad through injury.
Nisbet was an unused sub for Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Israel at Hampden but made his Scotland debut against the Faroes in March and could add to his cap collection as Steve Clarke’s side look to continue their winning run in World Cup qualifying.
Elsewhere, Hearts defender Michael Smith could play a part in Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria in Sofia on Tuesday evening.
The Bulgarians suffered a surprise 3-1 defeat by Lithuania at the weekend with Ian Baraclough’s side going down 2-0 to Switzerland in Geneva. Smith was an unused substitute for the weekend match but could return against Yasen Petrov’s side at the Vasil Levski National Stadium.