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Soccer

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Socceroo Boyle stars as Hibs win opener

Socceroos winger Martin Boyle got his season off to a dream start, inspiring Hibernian to a 2-1 win over Kilmarnock in Scottish Premier Division opener on Saturday.

Boyle turned in a man-of-match showing at Easter Road, opening the scoring after debutant goalkeeper Jake Eastwood inexplicably raced off his line in a bid to win a foot-race with one of the SPFL's fastest forwards.

He then doubled up with a clinical low drive just after the half-hour mark and, although Kilmarnock pulled a goal back through Chris Burke's wonder goal, Hibernian held on for victory.

Hibs boss Jack Ross hailed the 27-year-old and revealed Boyle predicted he would win the game for his side before kick-off.

"Martin hasn't felt like he's been at his best in pre-season. But he assured us that he'd be right for the opening day," the former Sunderland manager said.

"In fact, he told us he would score.

"He played in a slightly different role at the start of the game [as a striker] and then back to his more natural position on the wing - but wherever he plays on the pitch, he carries a threat because of that pace.

"And he's a much better player than a lot of people give him credit for.

"His all-round play is good, how he creates opportunities is excellent and I'm delighted he has got off to that start."

Ryan Kent was on target as Rangers opened the new campaign with a 1-0 win at Aberdeen.

After 142 days in lockdown, the Ibrox side got off to just the start they were looking for on their return to competitive action for the first time since March's Europa League defeat by Bayer Leverkusen.

The visitors dominated the opening half and got their reward after 21 minutes as Kent burst clear to coolly roll in the only goal.

The second period was more of a grind but manager Steven Gerrard will just be relieved to see his side avoid a repeat of their opening-day slip-up in the Granite City from two years ago as they set their sights on halting Celtic's push for 10 in a row.

Derek McInnes' Dons finished the game with 10 men after Andy Considine saw red four minutes from time for his reckless lunge on Scott Arfield.

St Johnstone snatched an unlikely point at Dundee United through Liam Craig.

Nicky Clark fired United ahead from the penalty spot and St Johnstone were dealt a further blow when Michael O'Halloran was shown a second yellow card before the interval.

But the 10 men levelled through a thunderous volley from Craig to secure a 1-1 draw.

A debut goal for St Mirren's Richard Tait, with a diving header, secured a 1-0 win over Livingston.

--End of article--

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