His strike was described as goal of the season by his manager, Alan Stubbs, but there is no danger of the plaudits going to Martin Boyle’s head.
While others were wowed, the attacker played down his spectacular 30-yard goal and was more concerned with the three points it earned the Easter Road side as they brought to a halt their run of Championship games without a victory.
“It was a fluke. You will probably never see me do anything like that again,” he said. “Everyone was just coming in and piling on top of me. I was just blank. I couldn’t believe what had happened but the victory was the most important thing.
“I was actually told that I should have been up the pitch so I wasn’t supposed to be in that area but I thought I would just float about there and see what happened. I was thinking ‘should I go forward a bit?’ Then obviously the ball came out and I just leathered it as hard as I could, to be honest with you.
“I haven’t seen it back yet but I am looking forward to seeing it a few times, although, hopefully, I can do an even better one than that at some time in my life. I just can’t see it!
“Coming on I knew the win was the most important thing because it was one of our games in hand and it was a special moment to get a goal like that, especially as it was the winning goal.”
Hibs’ recent dip in form, which added up to just one triumph in eight in all contests before Boyle intervened to give them the win in Tuesday night’s meeting with Livingston, had quashed their hopes of challenging for the title and allowed Falkirk to steal a march on them and take up residency in second place. But having made the most of his 78th-minute chance, Boyle said the most important thing about his strike was the part it played in closing the gap on Peter Houston’s men, who are now just three points ahead of Hibs, who have two games in hand.
“We all worked hard. It’s not ideal when teams come here and sit in and make it difficult for us, but we are delighted to come away with the three points.”
Livingston are a team fighting for survival, vying with Dumbarton to escape the relegation play-off, and their well-drilled, organised and stubborn showing in Leith frustrated their opponents and rattled the home support, who were not shy in letting their feelings known.
“They are fighting for their lives and were throwing bodies in front of things and thankfully we came through that,” said Boyle. “It is very difficult [when teams set up to stifle] but we usually have a lot of chances and we just haven’t been as ruthless as we know we can be in the last few weeks, but, hopefully, this is the start of a wee run, like we had earlier in the season. We want to kick on from here. We are getting boys back now and we can reshuffle the squad and still have a strong team.”
Prior to the recent blip, Stubbs’ men had strung together a sequence of results, including just one defeat in 28 outings, but lack of sharpness in front of goal and a few more defensive lapses have been troublesome.
“We know we have been leaking goals and it hasn’t been ideal but we have missed chances as well and we haven’t been as ruthless. We know all that but, hopefully, we can take a lot from this game and look ahead to Alloa. We just needed to keep going.”
If they do that, the Hibs fans will get back on board. “A lot of crowds get like that and the players just need to keep their concentration and keep going and grind it out, which is what we did. That’s all we can do,” added Boyle.