Alex McLeish is relaxed about Martin Boyle’s international intentions after choosing to leave the Hibs winger out of his latest squad.
The Scotland manager watched the in-form Boyle play for Hibs against Aberdeen in the Betfred Cup last week amid reports the player was set to be called up for the first time by Australia.
“What will be will be,” said McLeish, who spoke to the 25-year-old last week. He admitted the interest from Australia had presented him with a dilemma but he was unable to justify picking Boyle over other more-established members of his squad for the forthcoming games against Israel and Portugal. McLeish did confirm he had spoken with Boyle but did not wish to divulge the details of their conversation.
“It’s private,” he said. “You’re in a dilemma. What do you do? I felt that it was better sticking to these guys. I wanted to have faith in the guys that I’ve picked. I respect what Boyle’s been doing.
“He’s looking great for Hibs. Neil [Lennon] will be delighted to have him. I was trying to go and see Neil last week, but couldn’t make it. I’ll see him in the next couple of weeks. What will be will be.”
Lennon confirmed on Friday that McLeish had been in touch following the game against Aberdeen and was considering including Boyle, who has scored twice this season, in his squad. But the Scotland manager has now decided to stick with tried-and-trusted regulars, thereby leaving Boyle free to play for Australia, where his father, Graeme, was born.
Socceroos manager Graham Arnold, pictured, last week stated Boyle had indicated his willingness to join up with the side for a training camp in Dubai and then friendly against Kuwait in Kuwait City later this month.
McLeish added: “Martin Boyle is a guy who has been in good form for Hibs over a period of time and I’ve considered him.
“We tried to take him on the South American tour, but he was injured.
“At the moment I am pretty rich in that position and it would be difficult to get Martin in ahead of guys who are already in that squad.”
McLeish has named a 23-player squad for the forthcoming clashes with Israel and Portugal. Had Boyle appeared against Israel, he would have been tied down to Scotland since that is a competitive fixture.
If he does play for Australia against Kuwait, the winger will remain free to switch to Scotland at a future date as the clash in Kuwait City is only a friendly.
“If it is meant for Martin to play for Scotland, then it could happen,” added McLeish. “Watch this space. He has got to keep playing at that level. Australia may snatch him, but at the moment I have got some really good players in that position.”