Aussies Abroad: Boyle hat-trick heroics books Hibernian v Celtic Cup Final
Martin Boyle enjoyed a night to remember at Hampden Park, converting a first-half hat-trick to inspire Hibernian to a 3-1 win over Rangers in their Scottish League Cup semi-final overnight.
Despite playing two internationals in the last week for Australia, Boyle's Hibs had not taken to the pitch since late October - but they returned in style in front of a raucous crowd at Scotland's national stadium.
Determined to hit the ground running against a Rangers side under new management for the first time since the departure of Steven Gerrard, it was the Socceroos forward who helped Hibs achieve exactly that.
Boyle was in the right place at the right time to bundle home a corner after just nine minutes.
If that got the party started for Hibernian's supporters, they were in dreamland just over ten minutes later as Boyle was slipped in behind and thumped a slick finish into the bottom corner.
Rangers tried to find a way back into the contest, but inside the last ten minutes of the half Boyle created havoc again, winning a penalty which he duly converted to seal a landmark hat-trick inside 38 minutes.
Rangers did pull one back a couple of minutes later, but there were to be no second half goals as Hibs snapped their four-game losing streak in the best way possible.
And moving forward - there's going to be a distinct Aussie flavour to the upcoming Scottish League Cup final on December 19, after Ange Postecoglou's Celtic booked their place following a 1-0 win over St. Johnstone a day earlier.
With Tom Rogic edging closer to full fitness, there is likely to be a Socceroo on each side shooting for silverware next month - with a former Australian boss in the technical area looking to earn his first trophy in Scottish football.
Elsewhere in Aussies Abroad weekend action, Denis Genreau played an important part in Toulouse FC's 4 - 1 thrashing of Sochaux - solidifying their lead at the summit of Ligue 2.
The 22-year-old worked brilliantly with four-goal hero Rhys Healey who is now the league's top scorer this season with 12 goals.
It was yet another consistent performance from the Socceroos midfielder, who was given a well-deserved rest after 70 minutes and keeps Toulouse two points clear at the top of the table.
In the English Championship, Riley McGree played a full 90 minutes down the right flank for a 10-man Birmingham City side who lost 1 - 0 to Callum Elder's Hull City.
Staying in England, midfielder Kenny Dougall was an unused substitute for Blackpool who drew 1 - 1 with Swansea.
It was a tough day at the office for James Jeggo and Aris Thessalonki who fell victims off a slick Giannina side with a 5 - 0 defeat seeing Aris fall into seventh place in the Greek Super League. Jeggo played 58 minutes in the heart of midfield.
In Turkey, Aziz Behich played 88 minutes at left-back in Giresunspor's vital 1 - 0 win over Yeni Malatyaspor which moves Giresunspor outside the relegation zone.
Jackson Irvine also found things tough, playing 90 minutes in FC St Pauli's 4 - 0 loss to Darmstadt.
The result sees Darmstadt overtake St. Pauli at the summit of the 2. Bundesliga - although they have played one extra game.
Over in Belgium, Trent Sainsbury started in the heart of defence as his Kortrijk drew 1-1 away to a ten-man Anderlecht.
To Holland, Danny Vukovic was an unused substitute in NEC Nijmegen's 1 - 1 draw with AZ Alkmaar with NEC conceding a heart-breaking 93rd minute equalizer.
In Germany and Spain, Ajdin Hrustic and Maty Ryan were also both unused susbstitutes for Eintracht Frankfurt and Real Sociedad upon their returns from the international break.
Newcomer to the Australia senior setup Gianni Stensness played a full 90 minutes at centre back for Norwegian side Viking FK's 1 - 1 draw with Haugesund on Sunday morning.
Fran Karačić was an unused substitute in Brescia's entertaining 3 - 2 win over Vincenza, a result which sees Brescia maintain its 3 point lead at the top of Serie B.
Finishing in Japan, where Australia’s goalscorer against China Mitchell Duke came on as a 67th-minute substitute for Fagiano Okyama who drew 0 - 0 with Kyoto Sanga. Fagiano now sit 10th in the J2 League.
Meanwhile at home, the A-League Men's kicked off for another year with Mathew Leckie, Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout all started Melbourne City's season-opening 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar.
Rhyan Grant returned to Western Sydney Stadium and played out a similar result to the Socceroos' against Saudi Arabia, keeping a clean sheet in Sydney FC's 0-0 draw with cross-town rivals Western Sydney Wanderers.