Former Celtic defender Alan Stubbs believes that the Hoops should consider signing Martin Boyle, who has previously worked with Neil Lennon.
As noted by The Scottish Sun, Celtic scout Tosh McKinlay was at the Dundee United v Hibernian cup clash last weekend to watch Tangerines striker Lawrence Shankland, although it was Hibs winger Boyle who made an impact with a goal and an assist in the 2-2 draw at Tannadice. The Australia international played under Lennon at Easter Road and Stubbs has suggested that the Hoops manager ought to consider a reunion with the 26-year-old by bringing him to Parkhead.
He told the Ladbrokes Social Club [via The Scottish Sun]: “Here’s one for you, if I was Neil…Neil loved Martin Boyle. It fits. Neil had a real fondness for Boyley when he was there [at Hibernian]. He used to talk him up all the time.”
Stubbs’ reasons for suggesting that Boyle could be a good fit if Celtic were to show an interest in him are justified. The Australian has made more appearances under Lennon (109) than any other manager during his professional career and was often an effective presence at Hibernian during the 48-year-old’s time in charge at Easter Road, with 19 goals and 26 assists under Lennon’s watch.
Also, as Stubbs rightly pointed out, the current Hoops boss often spoke highly of Boyle during their mutual time at Hibernian. In October 2018, Lennon described the winger as the most improved player at the club (as per Edinburgh Live) shortly after touting him for an Australia call-up. When that came and he scored twice on his second cap for the Socceroos, Lennon again sung the praises of Boyle in public (as per Edinburgh News).
The 26-year-old right winger has scored six goals and provided four assists in 914 minutes of game-time for Hibernian this season, an average of one goal per 152.33 minutes and an assist every 229 minutes. James Forrest, who is Celtic’s first choice on the right wing, has hit 14 goals and set up another 16 in 2,835 minutes so far in the current campaign, which works out at one goal per 202.5 minutes and an assist every 177.19 minutes.
While Forrest has scored more goals and provided more assists, as well as setting up goals with greater regularity, Boyle has a significantly better goals-per-minute ratio than the Scotland international in 2019/20. Also, Celtic do not have huge depth in this area of the pitch – Marian Shved has made just two appearances all season and Jonny Hayes, for all his experience on the right, has been deployed chiefly on the other flank this term. The Hoops’ efforts to strengthen in this area took a setback last week after they left it too late to submit a bid for Jack Clarke (as per Football Insider), with the Tottenham youngster instead joining QPR on loan.
Therefore, Celtic ought to keep targeting right wingers and Stubbs’ recommendation of Boyle seems a sensible one given his strong working relationship with Lennon in the past and his decent return of goal involvements this season.
Celtic fans, do you think the club should follow through on Stubbs’ suggestion of trying to sign Boyle? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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