Hibernian boss Jack Ross insists Martin Boyle is the “last person” he can afford to lose after Celtic watched the Australia international shine against Hamilton.
Hoops boss Neil Lennon coached Boyle during his stint in the Easter Road hot-seat and is known to be an admirer of the in-form attacker.
And Celtic’s head of football operations Nicky Hammond was in Leith to watch Boyle claim two assists as Hibs roared back from a half-time deficit against Accies to register a 2-1 triumph.
Christian Doidge cancelled out Alex Gogic’s opener after reacting quickest to a Boyle effort which struck the post, before the 26-year-old produced a perfect delivery for Paul Hanlon to head home the 86th-minute winner.
Ross is circumspect about the prospect of Boyle attracting admiring glances, but is clearly desperate to see him remain a Hibs player.
He said: “I’ve said before he’s a better player than some people have given him credit for.
“He’s got a lot more than pace – his intelligence is really good and he contributed towards the two goals.
“Martin is the last person I’d like to lose from this club.
“But I’ve had it with players before – Lewis Morgan, Josh Maja – players who get results and you enjoy watching them… then people take them off you.
“I’m not bothered with others watching him because it means he’s playing well for me.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton boss Brian Rice insisted the defeat at Easter Road was the most galling result of the campaign to date, such was their dominance in the first half.
Blair Alston and Markus Fjortoft came close for the visitors but they were ultimately punished for not putting the game out of sight in the opening 45 minutes.
“I haven’t been as disappointed as this all season,” said Rice. “We deserved something from that match and no-one can tell me otherwise.
“The boys were tremendous in the first half then we got a bit deep and a couple of mistakes have cost us at least a point.”
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