Martin Boyle on Shaun Maloney, guilt over Jack Ross and who's taking Hibs' next penalty

Martin Boyle has nothing to reproach himself about. There’s even a school of thought that his hat-trick against Rangers in the Premier Sports semi-final might have actually extended Jack Ross’ stay at Hibs.

Martin Boyle was back in form for Hibs against Dundee on Tuesday and crossed for Paul McMullan's spectacular own goal winner
Martin Boyle was back in form for Hibs against Dundee on Tuesday and crossed for Paul McMullan's spectacular own goal winner

But it was natural that he might indulge in some self-reflection after hearing the news that the manager had been sacked following last week’s 1-0 loss to Livingston. After all, he had wasted a golden opportunity to quickly draw his side level at the Tony Macaroni Arena but ballooned his penalty over the bar.

It wasn’t like him. He had previously held his nerve in front of a far larger crowd to seal a first-half hat-trick against Rangers at Hampden. Sadly for him, he got everything wrong against Livi and he and his deflated teammates, two of whom were later sent off, could not muster a fightback. Ross was gone by the following morning.

“It wasn’t ideal,” says Boyle. “Missing the penalty, these things happen. You can go on a run of scoring penalties but defining moments like that … we wouldn’t necessarily have gone on to win the game and we never played well but we also had chances after that which was frustrating.

“The way we played we knew it wasn’t good enough. It was a bit sad the way it ended.”

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In football, there’s little time to sit still. Hibs have already played two more games, drawing against St Mirren and then winning against Dundee. Shaun Maloney looks certain to be confirmed as Ross’s successor though he won’t take the team against Celtic at Hampden on Sunday. Among the specifications set out by Hibs for the incoming manager is a desire to play “attacking football” and a winger being appointed must be music to Boyle’s ears.

“He is a big name, he’s done well with the Belgian national side,” he said. “It’s a big name being attracted to the club which is great and those are the people you want to play under.

“I have never crossed paths with Shaun, I just watched a lot of him on telly when I was younger.

“We will see what happens in the next few days. I could learn a lot from him. He will have his own ideas and I’m sure if he does become the manager then everyone will be buying into what he wants to bring to the club.

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“I have played under different managers and adapted to how they wanted to play which has been a positive. This will be no different.

“After the hat-trick against Rangers the goals have fizzled out a bit - I wasted them in one game! But I’m happy playing, creating chances for the team and the last few games I have managed a few assists. I’m just happy contributing and playing different positions.”

On the burning question of who will be on penalties if any come Hibs’ way on Sunday, Boyle seems adamant he will be first in line. Caretaker manager David Gray is in charge for one last game so it looks like it will be his call.

“I certainly hope I’m on the next penalty!” said Boyle. “I will definitely be grabbing the ball. I’ve gone on a good streak of scoring penalties so I’d like to think I will be on the next one.”

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