Socceroos star coming to the Boyle for Scottish Cup finale

Martin Boyle during a Hibernian training session Source: SNS Group

Socceroos winger Martin Boyle was an unused substitute when Hibernian last won the Scottish Cup five years ago.

On Saturday, the in-form flier will be one of the first names on the team sheet as the Hibees head to Hampden Park in pursuit of the trophy again against St Johnstone.

Rested for the weekend’s goalless draw against Celtic, Boyle, 27, and his Australia teammate Jackson Irvine are crucial to coach Jack Ross’s plans to win the cup for the fourth time.

Boyle has enjoyed the most productive season of his career with 15 goals and seven assists across all competitions.

Irvine - who arrived as a free agent in January - has also been a formidable presence in his 15 appearances.

League Cup winners St Johnstone have already beaten Hibs three times this season, yet the side from Easter Road are the nominal favourites after clinching a third-placed Scottish Premiership finish.

“It was nice to have that little rest and now it all comes down to the last day,” said Boyle.

“St Johnstone has done really well this year and it will be tough to break them down.

“They’ve already won the League Cup and beat us in the semi-final to get there, and I’m expecting a cagey start.
“But it will open up and be a good game to watch.”

Plans to allow a paltry 600 fans to attend have been scrapped due to a recent rise in Covid-19 transmissions, much to Boyle’s disappointment.

“It would have been brilliant to see fans back - you saw the atmosphere at the English FA Cup final (between Chelsea and Leicester) but it isn’t going to be,” he added.

“We’re used to playing in front of empty stands this season so nothing really changes.”

Both Boyle and Irvine will decamp for international duty for Australia in Kuwait soon after the final, initially linking up with the squad in Dubai.

But all his thoughts are on distilling a season of incisive moments coupled and relentless consistency into a final paroxysm of Hampden Park glory.

“Hopefully I can bring the form I produced this season into this final game and give it everything I’ve got,” he said.

“I feel like I’ve had a tremendous year personally. I’ve hit a lot of career goals this season - it’s been my best so far.”

Boyle is quick to acknowledge Irvine’s impact and hopes the 28-year-old midfielder will extend his stay beyond this season.

“Jackson’s been huge for us, absolutely brilliant,” he added.

“His fitness levels have been amazing, especially when you consider he hadn’t played for around 10 months.

“He’s got a bit of everything in his game and he’s always looking to make things happen.

“He’s a valuable member of the team and is already a fans’ favourite.

“You’d never have predicted the impact he’s made - he’s a great professional and if he can stick around it would be great for the team.

“He’s put himself in a place where I’m sure other teams will be wanting his services, that’s for sure.”

Boyle has no qualms over a hectic schedule ahead with four World Cup qualifiers in June and then potential Europa League qualifiers in August, as a new season beckons.

“I’m buzzing for it all,” he said. “Time off is not my thing - I like to keep busy and play as many matches as possible.

“I know Graham Arnold will bring a big squad and they’ll be some rotation there (in the Middle East).

“Everybody will be given an opportunity but I’ll be pushing to play every minute I can.

“I’ve missed a fair chunk of football (through injury) and I don’t want to stop now.

“Fingers crossed I’ll bring my form into Socceroos squad and show everybody what I’m made of.”