Hibs’ triumph over Faroe Island minnows NSI Runavik may have been routine, but it was anything but painless.
Martin Boyle has the bruises to prove it.
As his Hibs team-mates celebrated Thursday’s comprehensive 6-1 victory which effectively settled the tie prior to a trip to Toftir next week, Boyle was just relieved to still be in one piece.
The Hibs winger endured brutal treatment from the tough-tackling part-timers, especially hulking left-back Einar Trondargjogv – who had the physique and the temperament of a particularly ill-tempered Juniors defender.
The NSI man, who had already given away a penalty to allow Florian Kamberi to open the scoring, was given his marching orders after just 30 minutes following a wild challenge on Boyle.
With the part-timers down to ten men, Hibs ran riot, with Kamberi notching a hat-trick, debutant Stevie Mallan bagging a brace and Oli Shaw rippling the net.
“The boy [Trondargjogv] has taken my foot back home to the Faroes with him,” Boyle smiled ruefully. “Fortunately I saw him coming in so I thought: ‘Brace yourself,’ but my team-mate [Vykintas Slivka] didn’t help me out with a slow ball!
“They were physical – my legs have taken a beating. You just have to get up, brush them off and try to go again.”
If Hibs are to embark on a sensational run to the group phase, there is no doubt Swiss marksman Kamberi will be pivotal.
Boyle added: “Flo has just been brilliant since he’s come in. The club set ambitious targets and it’s a statement of intent to get him back. He’s a great signing after what he achieved last year. He’s already flying so hopefully that can continue.”