Manager Nick Montgomery hailed the performance of Martin Boyle after the player inspired Hibernian’s 3-1 Scottish Gas Scottish Cup win at Inverness as they booked their place in the quarter-finals.
The Australia international starred as he scored in between Myziane Maolida’s opener and Elian Youan’s late strike as the Premiership outfit blitzed Caley Thistle in the second half to book their place in the last eight.
Boyle returned this week after playing for Australia in the Asian Cup and Montgomery admitted he is a massive influence for Hibs when he is on the pitch.
The Hibs boss said: “He is massively important. I said since January that I lost boys to international duty – along with Josh Campbell to injury – and not having Lewis Miller and Rocky Bushiri, you need them fit and available.
“It is great to have him back and you can see the difference in the last two games. He has been a real threat.
“He is a character and when he is off the field, you miss big characters. (It’s) great to have him back.
“He is a talisman, always a threat, but he is unselfish, he scores goals and creates goals. We saw he loves playing for Hibs and being out there.”
Montgomery admitted it was never easy for a Premiership club to take on opposition from a lower league, but was delighted they put in a professional performance against the Championship side.
He added: “It is never an easy cup tie to come here and I was really pleased with the boys’ effort.
“There are five new players that I brought in during January and I’m still getting boys fit.
“What I have lacked all the season is the impact off the bench and to make changes at half-time is what I planned to do and play high-intensity football and make changes as and when we needed.”
Aaron Doran pulled one back in second-half stoppage-time for the hosts, who rarely threatened to pull off a shock during the match.
Inverness manager Duncan Ferguson believed his team gave Hibernian a good game and had chances to level, but had no complaints with the final score.
He said: “We created one or two chances in the second half and hit the crossbar – we had chances.
“We had plenty of possession and we pushed them hard, but we are up against a good team and in the second half we gave them a couple of easy goals and afterwards we struggled after that.
“It just didn’t happen for us but we pushed and we played and got on the ball.
“We were brave, but they were strong on the counter attack, any time that we tried to attack.
“They have a lot of pacey players and I was pleased with the performance, but the goals were unavoidable.
“But I can’t complain too much as Hibernian are a good team.”