Hibernian have made an enquiry about taking Celtic winger Lewis Morgan on loan as head coach Neil Lennon revealed winger Martin Boyle’s season could be over.
Boyle suffered a knee injury after coming on as a late second-half substitute in Australia’s final warm-up match ahead of the Asian Cup, a 5-0 win against Oman, which put him out of the tournament and on a flight back to Edinburgh.
At the time Australia coach Graham Arnold admitted the 25-year-old was likely to be out “for an indefinite period”, but Boyle will see a specialist this week to determine the exact extent of the injury and whether he will require surgery.
Lennon, who was infuriated at the Socceroos’ decision to take Boyle and his Easter Road team-mates Mark Milligan and Jamie Maclaren away on international duty ahead of the Edinburgh derby against Hearts, revealed he “assumes” the player will need an operation.
And, he disclosed, if his worst fears are realised, the former Montrose and Dundee player could be out for up to 12 weeks which, in effect, would end his season.
Lennon, pictured inset, had already made bringing in another attack-minded player a priority in this transfer window, unhappy at the lack of goals his side had been scoring, and with Boyle likely to be out for at least a lengthy spell, he’ll step up his efforts to do so.
It is understood 22-year-old Morgan, who signed for Celtic from St Mirren, is seen as a possible replacement for Boyle during that time, but there’s been no reply from the Glasgow club, who made their first January loan signing in winger Oli Burke and last night confirmed a deal for Timothy Weah.
Lennon said: “We don’t know yet if he requires surgery, I assume he does. It could be anything from six to eight to 12 weeks. That’s basically his season if it’s 12 weeks.
“I feel for Martin because it has all come very quickly for him. He is not used to it and was excited about going. But his form dipped and maybe at the back of his mind he was thinking of keeping himself right for going to this huge tournament. And then for it to be taken away from him like that is really disappointing.”
Asked if Australia could pay Boyle’s wages throughout the period he is out given he was injured while playing for them, Lennon replied: “I would think there will be some form of compensation involved, yes.”