Michael Weir: In Martin Boyle Hibs have a threat – and with Scott Allan we can unleash that danger
Duo can be a potent force for Easter Road men
There’s no doubt Saturday’s performance underlined just how much Hibs have missed Martin Boyle for much of this year.
As Jack Ross has said, we’ve got a squad full of forward-thinking players but it’s Boyle’s blistering pace which sets him apart from most.
He’s capable of playing right, left or through the middle which makes him very difficult for opposition teams to handle. And in Scott Allan we have the perfect foil, a playmaker with superb vision and the ability to deliver that killer pass as we saw when he threaded the ball through for the opening goal.
Defenders are simply terrified by forwards with Martin’s speed running at them, but it’s also his running off the ball and Allan’s ability to spot his moves which, I think, will pay rich dividends in the coming months.
Martin can take the team up the pitch and when the opposition are forced to open up we are always liable to hit them on the counter.
He’s a big player for the club and it’s good to have him back as is the news that Darren McGregor and David Gray are also nearing full fitness after long-term injuries, their experience can only help as the season moves on.
I don’t think anyone can disagree that our performance against Aberdeen was our best of the season, it was almost as if Christmas had come early, Martin back at his best, three goals, a first clean sheet since the opening day of the Premiership and our biggest league win against the Dons in 51 years, which I found to be quite an amazing statistic.
I thought this could be a really tricky match against a team which has been there or thereabouts for a few seasons now, allied to the fact we were going into it on the back of disappointing results against Kilmarnock and Ross County.
But there was a composure about the team when we went in front rather than the players looking unsure as to what to do next as they had at times under Paul Heckingbottom when they’d go into their shell and hand the initiative to the opposition which invited the fans to get nervous and, in turn, transmit their anxiety on to the pitch. The problem has been getting the balance right with so many attack-minded players and against Ross County I felt we were too open after we’d gone in front.
But all good managers spot what’s gone wrong and tweak things which Jack did and that’s something I’d expect to see more of depending on the opposition and whether the game is at home or away.
Jack’s enjoyed, overall, a good month since coming in, three wins out of five taking us into the top half of the table. But remember, Jack is still learning about his players, it all takes a bit of time but, so far, it’s been very promising.