Martin Boyle couldn’t resist a playful dig at team-mate Christian Doidge in the wake of Tuesday night’s victory over St Mirren.
The third win on the bounce, the current run of results is a far cry from Hibs’ struggling start to the league campaign. That included only one win in the first 11 games and ultimately cost former manager Paul Heckingbottom his job.
It also brought a tsunami of criticism of the summer signings, with few under the same level of pressure to perform as striker Doidge.
In a world of free transfers and budget deals, the Welshman was a rarity – a player Hibs were willing to pay over £300,000 to sign.
The return had been far from prolific as Doidge struggled to settle into the Scottish game and hold down a place in the side with only one striking place up for grabs.
But it is not just the switch in management that has reaped rewards, a rejigging of the line-up, playing Doidge up front with a strike partner has opened the floodgates.
Five goals in three games has helped Hibs up into the top six but, with team-mates like Boyle, the 27-year-old is unlikely to get carried away.
“We’re maybe getting a few more breaks now,” said Boyle, who has returned from a lengthy injury lay-off to make key contributions from the bench in the last few matches. “And we’re defending well too. We’re not giving away as many sloppy goals. And now Doidgey has decided to show up! He’s getting the goals now and they’re going in off him everywhere. He’s flying at the moment. We’ve got strength in depth now with all the boys coming back [from injury]. And now we’ve got others who can come off the bench and make a difference too.
“We’ve been saying for ages that Christian just needed one to get him going and then he will kick on. He’s a right workhorse, he’s unbelievable in the air and you can play off him. He’s now getting a bit of luck as well and he’s flying. Having runners off him in his build-up play and players closer to him like Flo [Kamberi] has helped as he’s playing well, too. And there are others like Scotty [Allan] playing balls in to him and he’s relishing that.”
The switch in formation is one thing, the dogged determination to grind out a result in the murky midweek conditions is another as the momentum builds and Hibs try to consolidate and build on their position in the top six.
“It’s a shame the old manager had to go like that but then a new manager comes in and we’re climbing the table,” added Boyle. “We’ve had quite a big turnaround and the boys are playing with confidence at the moment. We’ve got good fixtures coming up so we need to brush this win down, enjoy it and then prepare for Saturday which is another massive game.”
With games coming thick and fast over the following month, there is the opportunity to get into a winning rhythm and extend the current run of victories beyond three and Boyle, who came on and helped cement the three points on Saturday and then won the penalty which was slotted home by Stevie Mallan on Tuesday to seal the win, hopes he can play a more involved role as he bags more game time.
“We don’t want the games to stop. Normally an international break comes along to break things up but we’re building some really good momentum. I’m just trying to get back in the team! I’m chapping at the door and got a few extra minutes the other night. If I can keep coming on and making an impact then you never know. I’m waiting for my chance.”