Martin Boyle in pre-World Cup injury scare

Martin Boyle is at the centre of a major injury scare for the Socceroos just over three weeks before the World Cup begins in Qatar.

One of Australia's key men had to come off in the 54th minute of Hibernian's Scottish Premiership match with St Mirren on Saturday with a leg injury.

It is still not clear just how serious the injury is but it's a problem that's left Hibs' manager Lee Johnson echoing the thoughts of all Australian soccer fans as he said: "I'm praying it's not too bad."

The 29-year-old Scottish-born winger had earlier opened the scoring in Hibs' 3-0 win, converting a penalty in first-half stoppage time.

Boyle went down holding his knee soon after the break and tried to play on after receiving some treatment, only to drop to the turf again soon after and have to be replaced by Elias Melkersen in the 54th minute.

Initially, it had looked like a knee injury, but Johnson reported: "I was very worried it was his knee, but it's not - it's down the side, sort of the top of the shin.

"And we're hoping the pain was contact to the nerve, because it went numb.

"That was what ended in him coming off, but I'm lighting a candle for him tonight hoping he's alright."

Paying tribute to Boyle's attitude, he added: "It's going to be difficult psychologically for him, but I have to say his professionalism has been outstanding, he has never shirked anything in training or games.

"That's why he deserves to go to the World Cup, for that consistency."

The sight of him having to be substituted will certainly have made anxious viewing for Socceroos' boss Graham Arnold, with the team's first World Cup match against champions France scheduled for November 22.

He is currently also sweating on the fitness of key playmaker Ajdin Hrustic, who recently rolled his ankle playing for Italian Serie A team Hellas Verona.

With PA