Why Celtic should reignite their interest in Martin Boyle
Back in August, a report from The Herald had claimed that both Celtic and Rangers were interested in signing Hibernian winger Martin Boyle during the summer window. However, no deal materialised and the 27-year-old eventually pledged his loyalty to Hibernian, signing a new contract at Easter Road until the summer of 2023.
Martin Boyle started his professional career with Montrose in the fourth-tier of Scottish football during the 2009-10 season before completing a move to the top-flight with Dundee in the summer of 2012. He featured sporadically for Dundee during the first half of the 2012-13 campaign before rejoining his former club Montrose on loan.
The 27-year-old eventually established himself as a regular starter for Dundee in the following campaign following the club’s relegation to the Scottish Championship. Boyle helped Dundee secure a return to the top-flight at the first time of asking and made 18 league appearances during the first half of the 2014-15 season.
He returned to the second-tier with Hibernian in January 2015, initially on loan before completing a permanent move to Easter Road. Boyle quickly established himself as a regular starter at his new club and was an integral part of the squad that won the 2016-17 Scottish Championship under current Celtic boss Neil Lennon to secure promotion to the top-flight.
Boyle has since made 81 appearances for Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership over the past three seasons, amassing a respectable tally of 17 goals and 18 assists in the process. The 27-year-old made his senior international debut for Australia in 2018 and has scored twice in 4 appearances so far.
Boyle would add more depth to Celtic’s attack
Celtic roped in Albian Ajeti from West Ham in the summer to bolster their striking ranks but the Hoops currently lack adequate depth in their wide attacking options. While Southampton loanee Mohamed Elyounoussi has been a regular fixture in Lennon’s side down the left, Celtic have found it really difficult to cope with the injury to influential right-winger James Forrest.
Lennon has relied on playmaker Ryan Christie and wing-back Jeremie Frimpong to do a job on the right but the Hoops should definitely look for some specialist cover in that department moving forward. Jonny Hayes, Lewis Morgan and Scott Sinclair have all departed Parkhead in the recent past have and they haven’t really brought in any replacements.
To that end, Celtic reigniting interest in Martin Boyle would make a lot of sense. The Hibernian star might not be the most high-profile player but he boasts considerable know-how of the Scottish game, having played across all four divisions.
The 27-year-old has been a consistent source of goals and assists for Hibernian in the top-flight over the past few years, thus making him a low-risk option for Celtic. Also, Boyle’s past experience of working under Lennon at Easter Road would make it a lot easier for him to settle down at Parkhead.
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Suffice to say, Celtic need some specialist cover for James Forrest on the right and Martin Boyle ticks the box as a proven performer in the Scottish Premiership.
The 27-year-old is also capable of playing out wide on the left and up top as a striker, thus offering the Hoops valuable cover in more than one area across the forward line. He still has several years remaining in his prime and Celtic should make a renewed attempt to sign him in January, despite his new contract at Easter Road.