Ryan Porteous on why Aberdeen move for Hibs teammate Martin Boyle 'was never going to happen'

There are elements of this term that are already very different from last season at Hibs. But, after a summer of reflection, the targets they are aiming for remain unchanged.

The Easter Road side again see finishing at least third in the Premiership as a major objective, but this time, after coming so close in recent seasons, they are also determined to decorate their season with some silverware.

Continuity and consistency have been key to their plans for that, with familiar faces dominating the dressing room. Martin Boyle’s new contract has underlined the need to hang on to the best of what drives them, while the haste with which the club turned down that bid from one of their rivals is further indication of where they currently see themselves in Scottish football’s pecking order.

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“It’s something the club wanted to do to show how the future is going to be,” said Ryan Porteous of his mate’s decision to pen that contract extension. “We want it to be challenging for third place and cups every year and players like Martin have been a standout for us over the past couple of years.

Hibs' Martin Boyle (left) with Ryan Porteous during a training session. The defender was happy to see his mate extend his contract with the club until 2024. Mark Scates / SNS Group

“You look at last season and his numbers were great. And his performances this season have been really good, too. So for him to be here long-term is brilliant.

“I think it was something that was never going to happen. We’re not going to sell to a direct rival, it would have been stupid, he’s one of our best players.”

There have, of course, been tweaks, as they adapt to the reality that they are now one of the teams others want to scalp. But those who thought they might struggle with that status have thus far been disappointed.

Domestically, they have played three, won three, taking them top of the league table after two games and through to the quarter-finals of the League Cup - just one match away from a Hampden return.

The way they have done it suggests they have learned from last season.

“That [opening league] game was a bit strange because we only came back from behind to win once in the league last season. That was quite poor. Then we did it in the first game this season,” explained the centre-back, who had been the subject of speculation but insists he is happy to continue “learning and developing” at Hibs.

“And we didn’t concede a headed goal last season but we conceded two in the first game. It was the complete opposite to last year but if we’re winning games and our forward players are playing that well it gives us massive confidence.”

Next up is newly-promoted Dundee, at Dens Park, this afternoon.

“We’ll need to be on top of our game. We saw the success we had from winning a lot of away games last season - it was a record total - and we want to get back to that.

“We know you’re not going to win every single game but we go in with that mindset that we should be competing in every single game and we shouldn’t fear any team.

“We need to believe that if we were to go onto the park against any team, including the Old Firm, we’re going to get something from the game.”

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