November 13, 2018 / 5:59 AM / 6 months ago

Soccer-Hibs' Boyle looking forward to Australia debut

MELBOURNE, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Hibs winger Martin Boyle hopes his bathtub rehearsals of Advance Australia Fair will pay dividends as he prepares to sing his new national anthem to his Socceroos team mates for the first time and push for a maiden cap against South Korea.

Boyle, who was born in Scotland but qualifies for an Australian passport thanks to his Sydney-born father Graeme, was a surprise inclusion in coach Graham Arnold’s training camp in Kuwait a month ago, though he was ineligible for the 4-0 friendly win over the Gulf nation.

The 25-year-old arrived in Australia for the first time this week ahead of Saturday’s friendly against the Koreans in Brisbane, and while his documentation is in order, there are a few issues to be ironed out.

Top of the list is showing his allegiance to the ‘green and gold’ with a rendition of the national anthem at a team dinner. Though there may be some demands for subtitles.

“They keep saying I need a translator so I’m trying to slow things down with my speaking,” Boyle told reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday.

His determination to give a full blooded version of the anthem on Saturday saw him belt it out at every opportunity.

“I’m learning it, I’m singing it in the bath, in the car, everywhere I go,” he told local media in Edinburgh last week.

“I’ll have it locked down by the time I go and I’ll be belting it out if I’m standing in that line before the games.”

While his Scottish burr is distinctive, Boyle hardly feels an outsider having arrived with forward Jamie McLaren and midfielder Mark Milligan, his Australian team mates at Hibernian.

McLaren was once a regular at Lang Park, where the Socceroos will play on Saturday, as a prolific striker for three-times A-League champions Brisbane Roar.

“Jamie McLaren has told me a lot about it,” said Boyle.

“He always jokes that he’s got a statue around the stadium, you know, how well he played.”

The Socceroos line-up against the Koreans could have up to four Scotland-based players, with Celtic playmaker Tom Rogic almost certain to feature.

With Australia having been too reliant on the now-retired Tim Cahill for goals in recent years, Arnold hopes Boyle and McLaren can add more options for an attacking front three, along with World Cup wingers Mathew Leckie and Andrew Nabbout.

“I think ‘Boyley’ will add another dimension there to what we do when go forward and scoring goals,” Milligan told reporters.

“Going forward it’s going to be exciting to watch.”

Boyle, who represented Scotland at a junior level, said his Hibs team mates had jokingly called him a “traitor” after he was confirmed for Australia but they were actually quite proud of him.

He added that he had grown up watching Socceroos matches on television with his dad, who had to abandon his allegiance to fierce city rivals Hearts when his son joined Hibs in 2015.

“I hugged my dad the other day, he was shedding a tear,” said Boyle.

“Obviously he can’t get time off work to come across but I’m making him proud and that’s all that matters.”

Editing by Peter Rutherford

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