Hibernian manager Lee Johnson admitted he ignored medical advice to accelerate Martin Boyle’s comeback before the winger’s double sent his side on their way to European redemption.
Boyle was a surprise starter as Hibs made amends against Inter d’Escaldes in a 6-1 second-leg victory to set up a Europa Conference League third qualifying-round tie against Swiss side Luzern.
The winger had only played 45 minutes in pre-season, against Blackpool on Saturday, but made his first competitive appearance in nine months and struck the first two goals on his return from a serious knee injury.
Johnson said: “I believe in him and I believed he would (make an impact) because I have seen him every day.
“I have been as frustrated as anybody and in fact I went against medial guidance last week to play him at Blackpool with this game in mind.
“I had to question myself a little bit, whether it was desperation to put him in, but it’s more about the balance of the team and what we require to be as elite as we were.
“It was needs must in one sense but he was also ready. He passed all the physical markers on Tuesday.
“He has worked extremely hard and he has been champing at the bit to get on earlier. We are very proud of him of how hard he has worked but he will be very happy and he will sleep well I am sure.”
Hibs overcame the blow of losing goalkeeper David Marshall to a tight hamstring in the warm-up and then debutant Jojo Wollacott to a thigh injury early on. Max Boruc came on for his own debut and had little to do before conceding an impressive late consolation goal.
Hibs had well and truly banished the pain of last week’s 2-1 defeat in Andorra by that point, with the help of Josh Campbell’s double and goals from Christian Doidge and Elie Youan.
Johnson added: “It was a difficult game last week. Obviously we have taken a lot of stick but we never lost our belief and that showed in this performance. There was no edginess, the players were still confident, we played our way.
“They are dangerous, they can play up to the big nine, they have two tricky wingers. We had to get on the front foot and disrupt their back four. That’s what we did and that’s why they couldn’t handle us.
“We broke their spirit early, which was key. Every man was at it.”