Martin Boyle has joked that he’s well on his way to turning his Hearts-supporting dad into a Hibby.
The striker joined Hibs on loan from Dundee earlier this month even though his father Graeme is a boyhood Jambo.
Although he has spent most of his life in Aberdeen and grew up as a Dons fan, Boyle’s roots are in Edinburgh. He was born in the Capital and lived in Dunbar before his dad got a job in the Granite City and moved the family north when the striker was a child.
Until the past few weeks, however, Hearts remained the Edinburgh club of choice for the Boyle family. “I grew up in a Hearts household because of my dad but I’ve been keeping that a bit quiet!” said the 21-year-old. “When we moved up to Aberdeen I tried to convert him into a Dons fan.
“He didn’t advise me against moving to Hibs or anything like that, but there’s been a bit of banter in the house, and it obviously gets brought up that he’s a Hearts fan and I’m playing for Hibs.”
Despite his allegiances to Hearts, Graeme Boyle has embraced his son’s move to Easter Road. “He watches every game I play in,” said the striker. “He was in with the Hibs fans when I made my debut in the derby [at Tynecastle three weeks ago]. He’s chuffed for me [to be playing for Hibs]. Playing in an Edinburgh derby is something I know he has always wanted me to do so I can tick that box for him now.
“I know he’s proud of me and he’ll come and watch me anywhere I go. He’s been really impressed with the set-up here at East Mains and at Easter Road. He’s been a huge influence on me. He’s been there every step of the way. He’s my biggest fan but he’s also my biggest critic. If I have a bad game he’s the first to tell me. He loves his football just like I do. He’s just as passionate a supporter as anyone else and wants his son to do well.”
Boyle has featured in all of Hibs’ three games since he signed and has started the last two matches in place of Dominique Malonga, who remains on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Congo. The striker has enjoyed his time at Easter Road so far. “It’s been brilliant, brand new,” he said. “I have really settled in here and I have moved down now. The change of scene has done me good.
“The Championship’s a tough league, I obviously played in it last year with Dundee and I expect a real challenge to get a double promotion. Hopefully I can help that along the way by getting some goals and really pushing it. You want to be playing in the top league but I don’t see this as dropping down a level. This is as hard as any other league. I’ve joined a massive club and it’s just as big for me as it would be in the Premiership. The opportunity to play games was the main reason I came here. Everyone wants to play, you don’t want to be in and out of the team. You want to play, you want to push yourself to go even further.”
Boyle is set to retain his place in the Hibs attack for today’s trip to play-off rivals Queen of the South, who sit just three points behind the Easter Road men with a game in hand. “They’re a good team, they’re one of the best you’ll come up against in this league,” added Boyle.