Martin Boyle's Hibs injury fears for Hearts derby allayed after forward stars in Australia's win over China

Hibs forward Martin Boyle revelled in being back on the international spotlight again after he scored in Australia’s 3-0 win over China in a World Cup qualifier.

Martin Boyle was on the receiving end of some rough treatment during Australia's 3-0 win over China.

The Socceroos started off their third stage qualification group campaign in some style, downing the Chinese in Doha, Qatar, where Australia are playing their home matches due to lockdown measures down under.

Boyle was involved in the first goal on 24 minutes after his cross was parried into the path of Awer Mabil to score, before two minutes later Boyle drove forward and put the Australians 2-0 up.

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Substitute Mitchell Duke completed the scoring on 70 minutes to give Graham Arnold’s men the perfect start to their campaign.

There was some concern over the fitness of Boyle after he was the subject of a bad challenge and was left holding his hamstring, but The Scotsman understands that he was replaced on 69 minutes as a precautionary measure and should be available for Australia’s next match against Vietnam in Hanoi on Tuesday.

Hibs fans are watching Boyle’s situation closely, given that he has scored four goals in the cinch Premiership already this season and that they play Hearts in the Edinburgh derby a week on Sunday.

What Boyle said afterwards

"It was exactly what we expected as a team," Boyle said after the victory over the Chinese. "We couldn't have gotten off to a better start, but we will take it game by game and we will go again on Tuesday.

"It's nice to be on the scoresheet again and to carry my form from club football to here, so I'm happy."

"We are all striving for the same goal, we are all buying into what 'Arnie' wants to do here.

"Three points, the first game, convincingly, three goals and a clean sheet – we can't ask any more."

How qualification works

Australia are in a six-team group in their bid to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar next year alongside China, Vietnam, Japan, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

There was a surprise result in Pool B after Japan lost 1-0 at home to Oman, with Celtic’s Kyogo Furuhashi making an appearance from the bench at half time.

In the other group match, Saudi Arabia overcame Vietnam 3-1 in Riyadh.

The top two teams in the section qualify for the World Cup directly, while the team that finishes third faces a play-off with the third-placed team in Group A – which contains South Korea, Iran, UAE, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. The winner of that match faces a final play-off against a team from South America.

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