Martin Boyle revealed his friendship with Jason Cummings remains intact despite keeping his best buddy out of the Hibernian starting 11.
Boyle demonstrated again on Saturday that he is adapting to the demands of his new role as striker by scoring twice after also hitting the net against St Mirren the previous week.
His brace and one by John McGinn helped the Easter Road side to a comfortable win, maintaining their lead at the top of the Championship and avenging a defeat by Ayr earlier in the campaign.
Boyle’s efforts in recent weeks have been enough to keep top scorer Cummings on the bench, a state of affairs which could put a strain on any relationship.
However, Boyle insists there are no hard feelings and said: “We’re probably like best mates. We’re always talking and have a good laugh. I told him when I came off for half-time that I would catch him with the goals.
“It’s really positive between us. But I have got to remain in the team and I know he is going to be close on my heels.”
Hibs went in front after 28 minutes when Boyle turned inside the box before slotting the ball into the corner of the net. The Edinburgh side extended their lead in the 77th minute when Boyle struck again, firing the ball through Ayr goalkeeper Greg Fleming’s legs. The rout was completed six minutes from time when midfielder McGinn scored his first of the season with a fabulous strike from 30 yards.
Boyle added: “I thought the performance was brilliant. Our attacking play especially in the first half was brilliant.”
Boyle and veteran striker Grant Holt are forming a formidable partnership, one which Boyle is very happy to be part of even if he is the junior partner.
“He tells me just to run. He comes short and I just run in behind. Every time I come in short he shouts at me so it’s a love-hate relationship but it’s working at the moment,” quipped Boyle.
McGinn’s strike was his first of the season at a perfect time as he heads to Wembley later this week with the national team. Boyle believes he warrants a start in the match against the Auld Enemy.
He said: “I think he’ll adapt fine. It’s a great honour for John to go there and represent his country, but I’m sure he’ll be keeping an eye on our game as well.
“It’s a great achievement for him and I’m sure it’s not going to get to his head. I watched him in the international that he played and he was man of the match and fitted in well.”
Ian McCall, the Ayr manager, was complimentary of Hibs and admitted his side had lost to a “team with better players”.
He said: “Ultimately, we won’t be judged on beating Hibs. But they thoroughly deserved to win.”