Hibs enjoyed a good 2020/21 season – but Martin Boyle knows the club can’t afford to stand still ahead of their UEFA Europa Conference League campaign.
The Easter Road club welcome 4,700 fans to the stadium tonight for their second round qualifier against Andorran side FC Santa Coloma. 2,000 supporters were in attendance last week as Boyle scored against English Premier League heavyweights Arsenal in an impressive 2-1 friendly win, a goalkeeping error allowing him to tap into an empty net.
Hibs lead 1-0 over Arsenal at Easter Road after a goal of the season contender from Martin Boyle 😍😍
— Not The Old Firm (@NotThe_OldFirm) July 13, 2021
Jack Ross’ team finished third in the cinch Premiership last season for the first time since 2005. The Arsenal game was a good one for Boyle but the Australian international is aware the competitive action is where big performances count: “Goals don’t come much easier but I thought I was going to miss it!
“It was brilliant for me and it was nice to see my family back. My daughter is always setting unrealistic targets for me. Preparations have gone well and the group is right up for it. Hopefully we take the game to Santa Coloma. We better last season by finishing first or second and winning a trophy.
“But we know how difficult that will be. We had a good season last term but we know it could have been better, had we added a trophy. We gave a good account of ourselves in the league and hopefully we can do that again.”
Head coach Ross signed a new two-year deal this week, something which pleased Boyle: “It’s great for the club that Jack Ross has signed a new deal. All the players have bought what he wants to do. He’s a great man-manager and he’s been brilliant with me personally. Hopefully we have another successful season. We know what we need to do.”
Boyle has played in Europe before with Hibs, his last outing coming in the 2018/19 Europa League qualifying campaign against Molde. A certain Erling Braut Haland inspired Molde to a 3-0 victory, sending Hibs out, Boyle coming close with a lofted effort. Santa Coloma – the dominant force in Andorran football – are an unknown quantity though.
Hibs will have their homework completed before kick-off according to Boyle, who is looking forward to hearing more fans inside Easter Road: “The European campaign will be great. We worked all of last year to get here. Preparations have gone well so we will be ready for it. It will be fantastic to have the fans back.
“Having them back for the Arsenal game was great. It was a smaller capacity and it was still great, so hopefully we can put on a show for more of them. My Andorran football knowledge isn’t great but we will know what their strengths and weaknesses are through the analysis work.
“We will work out how to beat them. Hibs are a massive club with a massive fanbase. We have to strive towards this every season. I have played in Europe with Hibs before and it’s great. The fans always back us home and away.”
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