Jack Ross has insisted Hibernian have no interest in selling Martin Boyle and haven’t put any price on the Australian internationalist’s head.
The Easter Road head coach isn’t surprised at the speculation surrounding Boyle, fuelled by the presence of Celtic’s head of recruitment Nick Hammond and Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill as he had a say in both Hibs goals as they defeated Hamilton in midweek. But Ross, who revealed he hopes to make two signings before the transfer window closes on Friday night, was adamant there has been “absolutely no contact” from any other club and described the speculation as “having grown arms and legs” over the last ten days.
One report claimed the capital club were prepared to play hard ball and dismiss any offers of less than £1.5 million for Boyle, who has six goals and five assists in his last 13 games, but Ross said: “That’s nonsense and it hasn’t come from Hibs.
“As far as I’m concerned, that should not worry anyone that supports the club. It’s different if we release a statement saying ‘this is what we are looking for’. But that’s one newspaper report and we’ve no interest in selling Martin and have not put any sort of value on him.
“I’m really relaxed about it because I believe Martin will continue to play here until such a time comes that the club believes they have an offer which is worth it.”
Boyle still has 18 months of his contract to run but Ross believes the 26-year-old is happy at Easter Road, enjoying his football and looking forward to “exciting times” at the Copa America this summer with the Aussies.
He said: “If a player becomes unhappy or has an interest in moving, then the dynamics change and they change very quickly. Players often get a really tough time for that, but it’s just part of the job, part of their life. But Martin is happy here and enjoying his football. There are lots of ifs, buts and maybes that will get spoken about but, because of the type of character he is, I don’t think he pays too much attention.
“Similarly. I’ve gained enough experience now that I don’t worry so much about these things. I’ve lost good players before – my top players – and have had to deal with that and, equally, I’ve had speculation about my players that didn’t amount to anything.
“I just get on with the job in hand and Martin is doing the same thing. Playing regularly and playing well is hugely important for Martin as we approach the summer.” Hibs travel to Motherwell today, with the Fir Park side set to be without attackers Christopher Long and Jermaine Hylton, which means Christian Ilic is likely to be involved again for the Steelmen.
The 23-year-old Austrian wide man made his first appearance for 16 weeks during Wednesday’s 1-0 win at Aberdeen after overcoming a hamstring injury and manager Stephen Robinson said: “I think he’s completely different to what we have got.
“He is a very intelligent footballer. The other boys playing in wide berths go one on one and take players on. He comes into little pockets, his movement with and without the ball is very good. He creates different problems, he is left-footed, gives us an option to cut in from the right.
“I think he can get better and better and I am looking for him to really burst on to the scene.”