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Hibernian forward Martin Boyle has been ruled out for the rest of the season after it was discovered that the knee issue that cost him his chance of playing for Australia at the World Cup was far worse than initially suspected.

The 29-year-old went off injured in the victory over St Mirren in late October with a suspected meniscus injury but was still hopeful of being fit to go to Qatar with the Socceroos.

Boyle was selected in the World Cup squad and travelled to the Middle East with the national team to prepare for the finals before it was announced on Sunday that he had been forced to withdraw.

Hibs revealed on Wednesday that “further scans revealed a pre-existing ruptured anterior cruciate ligament” and that he has undergone surgery in Qatar and begun his rehabilitation process.

“It has been a tough few weeks for Martin and we are all gutted for him,” manager Lee Johnson told Hibs’ website.

“Now it’s up to us to rally around him and make sure we support him on every level throughout his recovery.

“Short term it is a big blow for us, but we will do everything we can to support Martin to make sure he comes back fitter, stronger and a better player than before, just like Kevin Nisbet has shown in his recovery.”

Boyle had to battle back from a serious knee injury four years ago that kept him sidelined for the second half of the 2018-19 season.