12 Aug Martin Boyle praised by Hibs boss Neil Lennon
Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon praised the “outstanding” Martin Boyle after the winger set up his side’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw with St Johnstone.
Boyle terrorised Saints left-back Scott Tanser in the first half and created a number of chances which Hibs could not put away, and the visitors found themselves a goal down at the break after Tony Watt’s effort deflected in off Ryan Porteous.
But the former Dundee man’s persistence paid off as he sent in a teasing cross which bounced behind the Saints defence and allowed Oli Shaw to head his second goal of the Ladbrokes Premiership season six minutes into the second half.
Saints dealt with Boyle better after the goal and played their part in an entertaining contest, but Lennon felt his side should have left McDiarmid Park with three points.
Lennon said of Boyle: “He’s a good player. He was fantastic last year and he’s been a revelation this year. I thought he was outstanding. His fitness levels, drive, energy and his spark – he’s a very exciting player to watch.”
Lennon added: “We missed some great chances, especially first half. We had good control of the game and they scored with a bit of fortune with the deflection.
“Second half we have come out, got the goal, and we dominated possession. We looked a little bit rusty up top, (Jamie) Maclaren is still finding his feet. But with Boyle in the team we looked a real threat. I’ve got to be happy with the level of performance, just not the result.”
Lennon made four changes ahead of the second leg of their Europa League tie against Molde, which is goalless after the first leg at Easter Road.
“It’s a balancing act in terms of getting people up to speed but you don’t have any time on the training field,” Lennon said. “We are unbeaten in seven games since the start of the season, so I’ve got to be pleased with that, but I’m disappointed we haven’t won the game.”
Saints boss Tommy Wright was delighted to see summer signing Watt hit his third goal of the season.
“Someone said it had been put down as an OG. I haven’t seen it back,” Wright said. “But that’s what he does well – you won’t need to ask him if he’s going to shoot or not. He will shoot on sight.
“It was a decent strike, whether it was deflected or not, but I’m pleased for him to get his first league goal and obviously it’s a good point for us.
“They are a quality team – you just have to look at the players they are able to bring on – and we matched them, particularly in the second half.”