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Hibernian boss Shaun Maloney will look to replace Martin Boyle if striker leaves

Hibernian v Cove Rangers – Scottish Cup – Fourth Round – Easter Road
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Shaun Maloney admits Hibernian will have to bring in further attacking reinforcements if and when talisman Martin Boyle completes his move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Faisaly.

The 28-year-old was left out of the Scottish Cup fourth-round tie against Cove Rangers on Thursday evening after the club accepted an offer in the region of £3million from the Middle East outfit.

Boyle watched from the stand as Hibs struggled to a 1-0 extra-time win over the cinch League 1 leaders, and his departure from the club is expected to be finalised in the coming days.

Maloney admits the Australia forward will leave a huge void in the Easter Road attack and that some of the funds will have to be reinvested in replenishing the creative department of his squad before the transfer window closes.

The manager said: “We’ll know more in the next 24 or 48 hours about Martin. It’s possible he’s played his last game but Friday will be a bit more definitive.

“He was missed tonight. People with his attributes make a difference. If it does become the case he goes, then we’ll have to replace those attributes.

“It’s hard to find, and that’s why he’s been one of the best players in the league in his position. But that has to be the case – we can’t not replace that.

“At times we saw some good play (against Cove) but when you have a player who can go by an opponent one versus one, it changes really long possession into a good chance.”

The manager, who refused to be drawn on a report linking him with Blackpool wide player Demetri Mitchell, was pleased to see Kevin Nisbet come off the bench to score the only goal of the game in extra-time after the Scotland striker was criticised following a bad miss against Celtic on Monday.

He said: “Kevin has been really good in terms of his commitment. There was a great moment where the fans appreciated what he did out of possession.

“He brings that quality and that’s what number nines do. He will score more than he doesn’t. I hope that connection between him and the fans will change.”

Reflecting on his team’s display, he said: “The performance can definitely be better at times. I thought we got better as the game went on and we created more chances.

“But my experience in these competitions tells me I have to be very happy to be in the next round.”

Cove manager Paul Hartley was proud of his team’s effort.

He said: “We were outstanding. We just lacked a bit of legs towards the end and were tired.

“I couldn’t have been prouder – we went toe-to-toe with a good Hibs team and the players are a bit disappointed.”

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