Martin Boyle is back - but one Hibs man is talk of dressing-room after Saturday

Hibs will welcome Martin Boyle back from suspension for this evening’s league tussle with Rangers, hoping that the semi-final hat-trick hero can reprise his scoring exploits when the Ibrox team turn up in the capital.

Joe Newell (left) and Kevin Nisbet during Hibs training.
Joe Newell (left) and Kevin Nisbet during Hibs training.

But, being able to welcome back, an in-form Kevin Nisbet is just as notable.

While Boyle’s attacking form was significant in the recent knockout match, the elevated performance from his attacking team-mate has not gone unnoticed.

There had been flickerings of positivity in the Scotland striker’s all-round play in recent games but he passed up some decent chances in the midweek league defeat in Dingwall. That frustrating outing was put to the back of his mind on Saturday, though, as he rallied from the disappointment of disallowed ‘goals’, to finally ignite Hibs’ comeback at McDiarmid Park, grabbing his first goal since he opened the scoring against Rangers at Ibrox at the start of October.

“It will definitely be a weight off his shoulders,” said defender Paul McGinn, who was delighted by the whole team’s ability to dig in and finally mine a league win at the weekend.. “But he must have been looking at that first decision [to chalk off an effort against St Johnstone] and thinking ‘what is going on here? Everything is against me’ but he stuck at it. Now that he has that goal he will be looking to go on a run and I fully expect that to happen.

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“His finishing was great. He didn’t just knee it over the line from two yards. He hit it first-time and I'm sure it will make a lot of difference. He just looked like a player who is back to his best.”

Manager Jack Ross said that statistics show that Boyle is another player capable of keeping Rangers on their toes.

“I am probably a big one for judging it on the end product – goals and assists. "That’s not a case of being consumed by stats. They are just very important stat for an attacking player. Over the last two years, his numbers have been outstanding, in terms of goals and assists I don’t think there are many managers in the Premiership that wouldn’t like him in their squad because of what he can do. When he is in full flow, he is very difficult to stop.”