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Injury worry before World Cup games for 'special' Boyle


Hibernian boss Nick Montgomery admits he is reluctant to allow Martin Boyle to join up with Australia for their World Cup qualifiers because of a knee injury concern.

After Boyle had picked up a knee issue in last weekend's Scottish League Cup semi-final defeat to Aberdeen, he returned with a brilliant, match-winning league performance on Saturday (Sunday AEDT) to set up Hibs' 1-0 Premiership win over Kilmarnock.

"I'm not the doctor but I will go down and have that conversation," said former Central Coast Mariners boss Montgomery, after hailing Boyle as a "special" player.

"If he's fit, no problem, he'll be raring to go with the Socceroos. If not, he'll probably stay.

"Getting through 90 minutes probably tells you he'll be desperate to go - and he's a big player for them as well.

"If it was up to me, he'd stay and we'd rest him, but they've got good medical staff there and hopefully it's two weeks of him recovering for a few days, and getting some minutes."

Boyle will be key to Socceroos' coach Graham Arnold's plans as he plots their World Cup qualifiers, against Bangladesh in Melbourne on Thursday and in Kuwait against Palestine the following Tuesday.

Montgomery's comments came after Boyle had provided a superb assist for Josh Campbell to score the only goal of the game.

The Australia international, who also had an earlier effort ruled out for offside, sped forward with a forceful run from the centre-circle before teeing up his teammate from close range.

Campbell's effort after 36 minutes proved to the decisive moment as Hibs collected their first Premiership victory in seven outings to move within a point of sixth-placed Killie.

"Martin is a special player and we have to protect him," said Montgomery. "

"Coming off in the (League Cup) semi-final (defeat against Aberdeen) he took a little knock.

"We can't take risks on a player of Martin's stature at the club and it was the right decision to leave him on the bench at St Mirren (in midweek).

"It freshened him up and he has had a disallowed goal, possible penalty call and a couple at the end where he just lost his footing.

"Martin is a big player for us and it's important that we don't take risks when it's not necessary."

Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes admits Boyle's moment of brilliance was the difference between the teams.

He said: "We should have done better in dealing with the initial move when Boyle got on the half turn.

"I saw when he was rested against St Mirren, I thought they should have let him run riot against Stevie's (Robinson) team and left him on the bench against us.

"He's the one that makes the difference and his part in the goal was decisive for them.

"The game was decided by a big moment with Boyle at the heart of it."