Charmed: Martin Boyle's rewarding start to the season aims to add Hibs derby win to Player of the Month award

Martin Boyle is enjoying one of those charmed spells when it seems life could hardly be more rewarding.

Hibs Martin Boyle wins the cinch Premiership award for August during Hibs Training at the HTC, on September 10, 2021, in Tranent, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Hibs’ talismanic winger has been named Player of the Month for August, a period that saw the Easter Road club start their league campaign with a Premiership-topping haul of 10 points from 12 and progress safely into the next round of the League Cup.

His early contribution of high-level displays and a glut of goals - eight in 10 appearances - has helped justify his improved and extended contract, while at international level, he and his Socceroos are proving unrelenting in their journey towards a World Cup spot for Australia in Qatar.

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Cataloguing the achievements he says he doesn’t think it could be much better. But then he is asked to ponder whether Hibs’ position at the top of the table is sustainable or, at the very least, offers them a platform from which to build on last term’s third place finish and, perhaps, split the two big Glasgow sides.

Martin Boyle during Hibs Training at the HTC, on September 10, 2021, in Tranent, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

“It’s always something you’d try to do but over the last few years it has not been as easy as that and with the squads they have and the backing they have, it’s always going to be challenging for the other teams. But we have started well.

“It’s always important for teams like us to take it game by game but if we keep getting results and can take points off them as well we’d be in a fantastic position. If we can get more consistency than last season, as a club we’d certainly be up there.”

Last season, Jack Ross’ men started brightly and never slipped below fourth. This season they have already proved a more resilient force within games, and have strengthened their squad, although injuries to influential players have been a recurring problem with Chris Cadden, Paul Hanlon, Joe Newell, Christian Doidge and Jamie Murphy all enduring periods on the sidelines while the season is still in its infancy.

One or two could return for Sunday’s opening derby clash but a significant weight of responsibility will still fall on Boyle’s slight shoulders.

He was the man who scored a double the last time the teams met at Tynecastle, on Boxing Day 2019 and his recollections illustrate that, in derbies especially, the result will always matter more than the performance.

“That was a great occasion and we have great memories from it. It was one of my best games, although I didn’t play as well as I wanted to despite scoring two goals.

“I want to create more memories and score more goals there, but we know how challenging it’s going to be. It will be more difficult this time because both teams have started well and there is a buzz about the city.

“That’s great for Edinburgh, it adds more spice to the game and we’ll be going there looking to win. But we know it’s the same for Hearts, they’ll be feeling that as well.”

But when the dust settles it will be about perspective.

“We all know the calibre of the game and what’s at stake but nothing will be won or lost here, in terms of the league season. For now, it’s bragging rights and a chance to go to the top of the table.”

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