Martin Boyle admits he did not want to disrespect Hibernian by stalling on contract negotiations, especially when the club have been so good to him on and off the park.
The Australian international winger signed an improved three-year deal with Jack Ross’ side on Wednesday, bringing to an end much speculation over his future.
Boyle had been in the final 12 months of his previous contract and would not have been short of offers had he decided to run down the terms of his employment, the likes of Celtic, Huddersfield Town and Stoke City having been credited with an interest in the fleet-footed playmaker.
However, Boyle has demonstrated that loyalty does still exist in football, having felt compelled to pledge his future to the Easter Road side for sticking by him through three separate knee operations since he joined initially on loan from Dundee in January 2015.
Then there is an appreciation of how much he enjoys life with the Edinburgh club, with his wife, Rachael, having also signed fresh terms with the women’s team earlier this week.
Boyle, who will be hoping to help Hibs maintain their charge at the Premiership summit with victory over Aberdeen tomorrow, said: “Was there a temptation to look elsewhere? Not really, I had a few injuries and that, there were a few risks.
“I didn’t want to play the club about so I think it was just best for me to get a bit of security.
“I’m enjoying it, I’m playing football regularly and I’ve got young family here who love it as well.
“Hopefully this is, maybe not paying it back, but a bit if loyalty and a bit of faith. You sometimes don’t see it in the game these days.
“I’m happy with my decision and I just want to put it all to the back of my mind and kick on again.
“Happiness for me is key and the way I’m playing, there’s no need to see anything out or jump ship and go into the unknown.”
Boyle’s career has not always been straightforward at Hibs. Indeed, he credits current Celtic manager Neil Lennon’s arrival in the dugout in summer 2016 as a turning point.
The forward started to consistently produce on the field, culminating in Boyle making his international debut in November 2018 for Australia, the country of his dad’s birth.
“Neil Lennon coming in and saying ‘has the penny dropped?’,” replied Boyle when asked if there was a defining moment in his Hibs career.
“I was playing a lot of games in the Championship and we got promoted and he gave me that chance.
“Thankfully I took it and I haven’t looked back. I’ve progressed and got better every season and maybe little chances like that, little words in your ear can push you on the way.”
Boyle has always been regarded as the dressing room jester, but it now appears he comes as a double act alongside Hibs assistant head coach John Potter.
“He’s best pals with my assistant,” said Ross.
“That probably best describes the two of them, they’re like peas in a pod. They bounce off each other.
“I’d love to say it was my coaching and man-management why he signed a new deal but he’s got some sort of bromance with him that I’m not interested in getting to the bottom of! So it’s probably that.”
There was further good news for Hibs yesterday after midfielder Alex Gogic, who signed from Hamilton during the summer, earned a maiden call-up to the Cyprus squad.
Head coach Ross said: “We felt Hibs was a platform for him to improve but also maybe give him more profile and recognition, and that’s not a slight to Hamilton.
“He knew that, and it has maybe come a little quicker than he might have thought, but I think his performance level has merited it.
“It’s nice to see someone so excited by it as well because it means a lot to him to get into that international squad.”