With two goals, a clean sheet and three points, their colleagues coped well without them but, with the former’s move to Birmingham City apparently off after a second bid was rejected, and no follow-up offer from Millwall for the latter, it is unlikely that the Easter Road outfit will have to do so on a regular basis.
Which will please the man whose 69th minute goal wrapped up the victory against Dundee United, Martin Boyle.
“They would be a big loss,” admitted the Aussie international, who benefited from a beautifully-weighted through ball from fellow Socceroo Jackson Irvine to add to the lead established by Darren McGregor midway through the first half. “The speculation is there because they deserve it. They deserve the plaudits. Ryan is a young international who has been brilliant. Kevin has come in and although he has only been here for a short time, he has done wonders for us.
“We want them to stay because they are valuable to the club. They have been two outstanding players for us.”
Unless there are any unexpected offers that prove too good to refuse, it appears Boyle will get his wish.
The subject of plenty transfer speculation himself in recent windows, he understands the emotions his young squad-mates will be dealing with but he has backed them to keep developing and eventually earn their big reward.
“My speculation came when I was older. They are young guys. But, they are doing great things, they love playing for the club, so just keep going and try to put it to the back of your mind. Keep keeping clean sheets and scoring goals and if they want to get away, I’m sure that will come.
“If they’re doing the business, they’ll obviously go on to achieve good things. But at the end of the day, they can’t just expect it to come. They have to keep performing week in week out and I’m sure they’ll continue to do that and be good professionals for the club.”
The result against Dundee United gives them a better chance of finishing the season on a high, collecting points on a day when those around them stumbled.
It was a performance of few weaknesses, against a side who betrayed too many. Making better use of possession than their hosts, Alex Gogic and, in particular, Irvine controlled the midfield, while Chris Cadden and Josh Doig were in dynamic and penetrative from on the flanks.
The opening goal came from one of the set pieces won by the wingbacks and when Paul McGinn’s initial header was parried, Irvine laid the ball back to Darren McGregor on the edge of the box and he sent a scorching drive into the net.
Boyle added the second on 69 and although Dundee United were unfortunate not to get a penalty when Doig handled the ball, Hibs were worthy of their victory.
“It’s good to get a result after the sticky patch we’ve come through,” admitted Boyle, aware of how close the result took them to Aberdeen and Celtic.
“You’d still think Celtic are strong favourites to come second but hopefully we can get back into a good place and pick up some more points.”