Hibernian manager Neil Lennon was thrilled to see winger Martin Boyle make such a positive impact at international level over the past week but says he now wants to see him weigh in with performances like that for his club as well.
A substitute as Australia drew 1-1 with South Korea, the 25-year-old, who qualifies for his adopted nation thanks to his Sydney-born father, marked his first start with two goals as the Socceroos beat Lebanon 3-0 days later.
That led to rave reviews in the Australian media and his club manager hopes that his bright beginning on the world stage will bolster his confidence and benefit Hibs as they embark on a busy period of games.
Sitting in eighth place, the capital club are still just eight points behind the Premiership leaders and Lennon believes they can start to apply pressure on the teams above them if they can find their form and their consistency.
“Martin got a huge boost and it was a huge boost for the club. Individually it was fantastic and it shows the progression he has made over the last couple of years, it is fantastic for him and we are all really pleased for him.
“I think he has made a huge impression. I got a text from [Australia manager] Graham Arnold just thanking me and saying they were pleased with his performances and he is going to be an asset for Australia by the look of things.”
With the first caps under his belt and his colours now nailed to the Aussie mast, Lennon now hopes that his pace merchant will switch his full focus to the day-to-day demands at Hibernian as they welcome Dundee to Easter Road today and embark on a testing fixture sequence.
“So long as he brings that form to us, that’s the main thing, because he has been a bit off colour in the past couple of games. His mind was a little bit distracted but you get that with inexperienced players and we now need him to knuckle down and show that form for us. But, on the whole, he has been absolutely brilliant for me over the past two-and-a-half years.
“In terms of his own persona, it will give him that little bit extra confidence that he can compete at international level and have an impact. Hopefully that confidence will exude on to the pitch for us. We have nine games between now and the end of the year and he is an important player for us.”
On the back of four games without a win, including their first home league defeat in almost a year, and having drawn a blank in three of those four games, Lennon wants to see Boyle’s scoring prowess on show again this afternoon.
“We haven’t scored in three which is not like us and we haven’t won in four which, again, is not like us. Performances have been alright but there hasn’t been a flow about us, although the opposition has been difficult. We need to get back to winning ways and the style of football we have shown over the last couple of years. We need all the players back and at it. We have nine games between now and the end of the year and we are eighth but we are just eight points off the top so it is very concertinaed in there.”
After difficult games against Celtic, Hearts, Aberdeen and St Johnstone, bottom-of-the-table Dundee should pose Lennon’s side fewer problems but the manager knows his men will not be gifted a win.
“Dundee had a good point in their last game and there is a new manager, fresh ideas, fresh voice but I am totally concentrated on what we are going to do. If we can find our form again then we are as good as anybody in the division but it is just finding that form. There have been too many players who have been inconsistent but once they find their consistency then we will be a threat to anybody.”