Blue-collar values spur new Socceroo
The son of an Aussie truck driver, Scotland-born Martin Boyle is ready to steer the Socceroos' attack at January's Asian Cup.
Now the proud owner of an Australian passport, Boyle is poised to make his Socceroos debut at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night against South Korea.
"If you asked me a few years ago if this opportunity would ever happen from the position I was in, or where I was, I would probably laugh at you," said the 25-year-old Hibernian winger, who has never previously set foot in Australia.
"It's been a huge rise for myself - long may it continue."
Hailing from Aberdeen and a former Scotland under-16 international, Boyle is eligible to represent Australia courtesy of his father Graeme, who was born in Balmain.
"He lived here for multiple years. My gran was born in Scotland, that's why they moved back … that's why I was born there," Boyle said.
"He's so proud of me. I left the house the other day, and gave him a big hug and he was shedding a tear."
"Unfortunately he couldn't take time off work to come out here but he's going to be tuning in. He's a lorry driver and he does the night shift."
Boyle has no doubt inherited his father's blue-collar values.
"For me being in the third division of Scotland years ago (with Montrose) to the climb that's been happening - it's quite unimaginable," he said.
"My dad's always pushing me on … he's really spurred me on.
"I feel like I worked hard every day to make myself better. Hard work and determination has got me to this point."
While his father won't be at Suncorp Stadium, Boyle won't have to look far to see some familiar faces, with Hibs teammates Mark Milligan and Jamie Maclaren also in the Socceroos squad.
If the trio play on Saturday night, it will only be the third time in history that three players from an overseas club have represented Australia in the same match.
"The lads have welcomed me. It's a special bunch. Milly and Jamie from Hibs, they've made it easier, the transition," Boyle said.
Socceroos stalwart Milligan said Boyle had embraced his Australian heritage and the national anthem.
"He's coming to training telling me about Aussie culture," an amused Milligan said.
"He's very keen and he has definitely done his homework. He has got that (the anthem) down pat. He asked me about the second verse, but I said 'you should be all right'."
And Boyle will be more than just "all right" if he replicates his club form on the international stage.
"My biggest threat is speed," Boyle said
"I like to carry the ball, to bring it up the pitch, I like to get on the end of things, I feel like I have decent movement, create chances for other people to score, and I've been in a rich vein of scoring form this year. That's quite handy if I can bring that here."