'If it was up to me' - Hibs boss has say on Martin Boyle joining Australia after winger proves difference-maker

Nick Montgomery admits he is powerless to prevent his star man joining Australia this week
Hibs winger Martin Boyle is tackled by Kilmarnock's Lewis Mayo during the match at Easter Road. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)Hibs winger Martin Boyle is tackled by Kilmarnock's Lewis Mayo during the match at Easter Road. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Hibs winger Martin Boyle is tackled by Kilmarnock's Lewis Mayo during the match at Easter Road. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

Hibs manager Nick Montgomery has admitted that if it was down to him then striker Martin Boyle would not be heading to Australia for the Socceroos’ upcoming games against Bangladesh and Palestine.Boyle returned after being rested against St Mirren to play a crucial role as the Easter Road side earned their first league win since September by beating Kilmarnock 1-0.

Josh Campbell struck for the second time in two games but he was quick to credit Boyle for a thrilling assist. Boyle picked up the ball in midfield and left his markers for dead. He rode one challenge that earned Liam Polwarth a booking after the ball had been safely converted into the net by Campbell following his teammate’s lay off.

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Boyle was the “decisive factor” in Hibs’ victory according to Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes, who expressed the wish he had been rested against his side rather than St Mirren.

Montgomery would prefer to now wrap Boyle in cotton wool with the player having picked up a knee injury in the Viaplay Cup semi-final defeat against Aberdeen. But he has accepted that the winger will feel entitled to travel after lasting 90 minutes against Kilmarnock as Hibs finally returned to winning ways.

“I could’ve played him at St Mirren but it was possibly a bit too soon after the semi-final,” said Montgomery. “We decided not to take that risk, and today we got our just rewards because we had a fresh Martin Boyle and he looked dangerous every time he got on the attack. He was unfortunate not to score himself.”

Asked about the impending trip to Australia, Montgomery admitted he is powerless to prevent Boyle joining Hibs teammate Lewis Miller on a flight to the other side of the world. The Socceroos play Bangladesh in Melbourne and then take on Palestine in Kuwait, where the game has been moved due to the Israel-Hamas war.

Montgomery knew it was likely Boyle would want to go after showing up so well against Kilmarmock.

“I’m not the doctor but I will go down and have that conversation,” he said. “If he’s fit, no problem, he’ll be raring to go with the Socceroos. If not, he’ll probably stay. Getting through 90 minutes probably tells you he’ll be desperate to go, and he’s a big player for them as well.

“If it was up to me, he’d stay and we’d rest him. But they’ve got good medical staff there and hopefully it’s two weeks of him recovering for a few days and getting some minutes.”

Mongomery hailed a professional performance from his team after a difficult seven days. “Coming off the back of Wednesday night (v St Mirren) and conceding an injury-time equaliser, it was important to get a win," he said. "Clean sheet, three points and we could have made it easier. We could have killed it off earlier. But we limited them to one shot on target and they are a very physical and direct side.

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“The fans were also fantastic and they pushed us through at the end when you know there will be some hairy moments with balls into the box.”

McInnes lamented his team’s inability to deal with Boyle’s pace in the lead-up to Campbell's winner nine minutes before half time. “We should have done better in dealing with the initial move when Boyle got on the half turn," he said.

“He’s the one that makes the difference and his part in the goal was decisive for them. The game was decided by a big moment with Boyle at the heart of it.”



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