Hibernian manager Lee Johnson admitted he ignored medical advice to accelerate Martin Boyle’s comeback before the winger’s double sent his side on their way to European redemption.

Boyle was a surprise starter as Hibs made amends against Inter d’Escaldes in a 6-1 second-leg victory to set up a Europa Conference League third qualifying-round tie against Swiss side Luzern.

The winger had only played 45 minutes in pre-season, against Blackpool on Saturday, but made his first competitive appearance in nine months and struck the first two goals on his return from a serious knee injury.

Johnson said: “I believe in him and I believed he would (make an impact) because I have seen him every day.

“I have been as frustrated as anybody and in fact I went against medial guidance last week to play him at Blackpool with this game in mind.

“I had to question myself a little bit, whether it was desperation to put him in, but it’s more about the balance of the team and what we require to be as elite as we were.

“It was needs must in one sense but he was also ready. He passed all the physical markers on Tuesday.

“He has worked extremely hard and he has been champing at the bit to get on earlier. We are very proud of him of how hard he has worked but he will be very happy and he will sleep well I am sure.”

Hibs overcame the blow of losing goalkeeper David Marshall to a tight hamstring in the warm-up and then debutant Jojo Wollacott to a thigh injury early on. Max Boruc came on for his own debut and had little to do before conceding an impressive late consolation goal.

Hibs had well and truly banished the pain of last week’s 2-1 defeat in Andorra by that point, with the help of Josh Campbell’s double and goals from Christian Doidge and Elie Youan.

Johnson added: “It was a difficult game last week. Obviously we have taken a lot of stick but we never lost our belief and that showed in this performance. There was no edginess, the players were still confident, we played our way.

“They are dangerous, they can play up to the big nine, they have two tricky wingers. We had to get on the front foot and disrupt their back four. That’s what we did and that’s why they couldn’t handle us.

“We broke their spirit early, which was key. Every man was at it.”

Martin Boyle made a triumphant return as Hibernian bounced back from their shock defeat in Andorra to move safely into the next round of the Europa Conference League with a 6-1 win over Inter d’Escaldes.

Boyle hit an early double on his first appearance in nine months to set Hibs on their way to a 7-3 aggregate victory at Easter Road.

Josh Campbell also scored twice and Christian Doidge and Elie Youan were on target as Hibs made up to the travelling fans who launched a vitriolic response to their team’s defeat seven days earlier.

Hibs survived injuries to two goalkeepers to progress to a tie against Swiss side Luzern or Swedes Djurgarden, who kicked off later in the evening.

Boyle was a surprise inclusion in a team which showed six changes to the one that lost last week. The Australia international’s previous game for Hibs was in late October, when he suffered a knee injury which ruled him out of the World Cup.

Boyle had been taken to Andorra for what manager Lee Johnson described as “cheerleading” duties on the bench but he was drafted straight into the starting line-up after playing 45 minutes of a friendly against Blackpool on Saturday.

The winger made his mark inside 10 minutes. Boyle ran on to Joe Newell’s pass over the full-back and rolled the ball into an empty net after the goalkeeper raced off his line only to palm the ball off the wide player.

Hibs suffered a blow when Jojo Wollacott’s debut was cut short by a thigh problem after replacing David Marshall when the former Scotland goalkeeper suffered an injury in the warm-up. Max Boruc came on for his own debut.

Hibs doubled their lead midway through the half when the unmarked Boyle headed home Newell’s cross from seven yards.

Doidge netted an overhead kick in the 29th minute after Will Fish had headed against the bar and the goals continued three minutes after the interval.

Campbell took advantage of hesitancy in the visiting defence to loop a header home after Doidge’s flick-on, and the midfielder tapped home his second in the 61st minute following good wing play from Youan.

Youan soon smashed the ball high into the net to make it six and there were other chances for Hibs to give their supporters further cause to wonder how they had managed to lose so poorly in the first leg. Substitute Dylan Levitt saw long-range volley tipped over and Doidge had a goal ruled out for offside.

There was a late reminder that their opponents had some quality in their ranks in the 83rd minute when Angel De La Torre arrowed an excellent finish into the top corner for a consolation goal which prompted applause from some of the 13,840 crowd.

It was Inter’s first effort on target of the night but Boruc went on to make a decent late stop with his foot.

Hibernian manager Lee Johnson called for fans to maintain belief ahead of their second leg against Inter d’Escaldes as he claimed it was too strong to describe their 2-1 defeat in Andorra an embarrassment.

Joe Newell’s stoppage-time free-kick gave Hibs a lifeline after they conceded in each half of the first leg of the Europa Conference League second qualifying round.

Johnson asked for negativity over their defeat to be kept under control ahead of next Thursday’s return leg.

“I’m super disappointed,” he said. “The word ’embarrassing’ feels strong considering the tie is not over.

“I knew, I told you guys, these are not a bad side. They remind me of my dad’s Cheltenham side when they were doing very well in League Two.

“We don’t have any given right to go and beat anybody unless we are at it.

“We have to be  on the front foot, aggressive, confident, brave and bold, and we weren’t that until we took a punch on the nose and made a couple of changes.

“Individuals have got to hold their hands up and be responsible, I have got to hold my hands up and be responsible, but what we don’t need is the tension and the tightness of the negativity to seep into the players’ performances.

“The fans have got to maintain belief. We need everyone in the second leg to give us that bolster.”

Slack defending saw Hibs fall behind in the 15th minute and they struggled to respond before Johnson brought on Christian Doidge and Newell at half-time.

Even then chances were at a premium before David Marshall spilled a weak shot after a goal kick had bounced over Lewis Stevenson’s head, and Jean-Luc doubled the home side’s lead in the 71st minute.

Hibs suddenly found some urgency to their play and Johnson could not understand where it had been at the start of the game.

“I’m majorly disappointed with the first-half performance, I thought it was really, really poor,” he said. “We didn’t acclimatise, whether that was conditions or altitude.

“The lads knew everything about the opposition, we had studied them deeply, and they were good. You have to give the Andorrans credit, they worked extremely hard.

“There were far too many unforced errors from us. You could give them credit, you could say it was good pressing.

“There were too many individual poor decisions. We should have been better in our decision-making and our execution.

“We took a bit of stick and that was fair. Second half was much better.

“I made some half-time substitutions and they did well and I thought we had opportunties to maybe even go on and win the game.

“The second goal is an absolute suckler punch, a poor couple of errors which senior players will hold their hands up to, no doubt.

“And Joe Newell’s goal really was ever so important because this is a completely different game now going back to Easter Road, big wide pitch, fans behind us.

“We have to be careful not to be too negative, certainly not in-house.”

Joe Newell’s stoppage-time free-kick gave Hibernian a lifeline during an embarrassing 2-1 Europa Conference League defeat in Andorra.

David Marshall’s howler had left Hibernian facing an uphill battle to avoid an early exit as home side Inter d’Escaldes went two ahead in the 71st minute.

A day after Hibs announced Marshall would hand the captaincy back to Paul Hanlon after a season with the armband, the 38-year-old’s fumble allowed the home side to double their lead in the second qualifying round first leg.

Marshall had been left utterly exposed for the home side’s 15th-minute opener and there were very few positives for manager Lee Johnson in his first European game until Newell’s intervention.

The midfielder drove a low effort from 20 yards after Elie Youan was tripped on the edge of the box and the home goalkeeper could not keep it out.

Hibs still face a fight to overturn their deficit and set up a clash against Swedes Djurgardens or Swiss side Luzern in the next round.

Youan and Josh Campbell had efforts comfortably saved early on for Hibs but there were warning signs of the consequences of slack play inside their own half shortly before the opening goal.

Marshall was called into action to make a good stop before Hibs again soon found themselves under pressure.

Lewis Stevenson was left out of position after trying to win a header near the halfway line and Ander El Haddadi had space and time to pick out a man when Rocky Bushiri’s attempts to cover failed to put enough pressure on the wide player.

Right-back Adrian Gallego was completely unmarked and knocked home from close range after Marshall had made an excellent stop from his initial effort.

Hibs struggled to make any inroads for the rest of the half and Christian Doidge replaced Elias Melkerson at half-time to join debutant Adam Le Fondre up front while Newell came on for Dylan Levitt.

Doidge had a decent shot parried and then misdirected a header from 12 yards but Hibs generally laboured in possession.

There was much worse to come for Johnson’s side after a goal kick bounced over Stevenson’s head and allowed El Haddadi to get a speculative first-time effort on target.

Marshall got down to make what looked like an easy save but the former Scotland goalkeeper fumbled and Jean-Luc had the simple task of tapping home from close range.

Hibs discovered some urgency as they looked for a lifeline. Le Fondre forced a good save from a header and both he and Doidge missed chances before Newell netted.

Youan’s ball across the face of goal threatened to set up a late leveller but Hibs were defeated.

Hibernian will take on Vikingur of the Faroe Islands or Andorran side Inter Club d’Escaldes in their European opener.

Hibs begin their campaign in the second qualifying round of the Europa Conference League on July 27. Details of the fixtures are still to be confirmed.

Lee Johnson’s side were seeded in the draw and avoided some tough opponents in their section such as Danish side Aarhus or Swedes Hammarby.

Inter were seeded in the draw for the first qualifying round. They beat Faroese opposition, HB Torshavn, in the Champions League qualifiers two years ago, and also beat Fiorita of San Marino last season.

Inter ultimately went out at the second qualifying round of the Conference League last season, losing to Romanian side Cluj 4-1 on aggregate after a first-leg draw.

Vikingur beat opposition from Gibraltar in the Conference League qualifiers last season before suffering a 4-0 aggregate defeat by Slovakian side Dac in the second round.

West Ham enjoyed a heroes’ welcome as fans lined the streets of east London to celebrate their Europa Conference League glory.

The Hammers won their first major trophy since the 1980 FA Cup, and a first European title since 1965, when they beat Italian side Fiorentina 2-1 in Prague on Wednesday night.

And their jubilant supporters, decked out in the famous claret and blue on a warm and sunny evening in the capital, packed the pavements as the Hammers paraded the silverware on an open-top bus.

The squad’s journey started at the site of their former home at Upton Park and finished at Stratford Town Hall, where they enjoyed a reception.

Only West Ham fans of a certain age will ever have seen their side celebrate success like this, with a similar parade being held after that 1965 European Cup Winners’ Cup victory, where the likes of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters got the taste of winning trophies.

But the younger generation made the most of it, climbing on lamp posts and bus stops to get the best vantage point of their heroes while also letting off flares.

David Moyes may have joined Ron Greenwood and John Lyall in earning immortality as managers to win a major trophy with the Hammers but he initially endured a lessened role on the bus, taking pictures of his players as they posed together.

But he was soon joining in with the celebrations, dancing and jigging with the trophy on his head.


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Lifting the trophy appears to be a fitting way for captain Declan Rice to bow out, with chairman David Sullivan confirming the England international will be allowed to leave the club this summer, with a bidding war expected to commence soon.

Rice was emotional on top of the bus, admitting it does not feel “real”.

“This is absolutely incredible, when you’re a kid and you love football as much as I do, and the lads do, you see teams having trophy parades,” he said. “I was once a kid watching teams do trophy parades and now to be doing one and captaining the side is just so, so special, I can’t even put into words.

“We knew it would be exciting and the fans would come out, I am just trying to take it all in, we don’t get to experience this ever. These moments don’t come around very often.

“I’ve seen top captains over the years lift trophies and it was my time at West Ham to lift the trophy. It doesn’t really feel real.

“At 24, captain of West Ham lifting a trophy in a European competition, I don’t think it is going to hit me for a while, but I am going to enjoy it and be as happy for as long as possible.

“Bobby Moore, Billy Bonds, I am seeing messages that I am now in that category, I don’t really know what to say. Bizarre.”

Moyes spent much of the season under pressure following a disappointing Premier League campaign, but Rice believes he is now the club’s best-ever manager.

The England midfielder added on Sky Sports News: “I think he goes down as the best manager West Ham have ever had. The circumstances, when he first came in, kept us twice, European competition, we finished fifth, sixth, a semi-final (Europa League) and now we’ve won this, he deserves all the credit he gets.

“He’s a top man and as you can see he is buzzing.”

Jarrod Bowen was West Ham’s hero in the final as he scored a 90th-minute winner, capping off a remarkable turnaround in his career having been playing at non-league Hereford nine years ago after being rejected as a youngster by Aston Villa.

“I love the game and these moments make it all worth it, the rejections and not going the way you want it,” he said.

“You fast forward 10 years and you are on an open-top bus parade for winning a European trophy so from where I have come, my mum was crying on the phone, my dad was there.

“It is a bit surreal to say I have won a European trophy from where I have come from. I love it.”

West Ham striker Michail Antonio believes their Europa Conference League triumph is just the start of bigger things to come.

Jarrod Bowen’s last-minute goal against Fiorentina ended the Hammers’ 43-year wait for a trophy.

Their 2-1 victory also means West Ham will be back in the Europa League next season, the first time they have qualified for Europe three years running.

“It’s massive, it’s massive,” said Antonio. “Moving forward this is not where we are going to stop, we will see if we can keep carrying it on and keep pushing ourselves and keep doing better.

“Last year we got to the semi-finals of the Europa League. This year, we won the Conference League. You can see we have a good pack of boys here, we have got good confidence and hopefully we can build on that.”

Said Benrahma put West Ham ahead from the penalty spot before Giacomo Bonaventura equalised for the Italian side.

But Lucas Paqueta’s ball over the top sent Bowen through on goal to fire the Hammers to European glory.

Full-back Emerson Palmieri revealed manager David Moyes gave a victory speech and, as promised, joined his players in some dancing.

“The gaffer said, ‘thank you for everything, thank you for the title’. Of course he is happy, we are happy. So everyone is happy,” he said.

“If you take the images, when you receive the medal, you need to walk on the podium, he did the dance. It was good – for a Scotsman!”

West Ham fans were “a credit to their club” according to a Prague bar owner, while one supporter will have to break the news to his fiance that their forthcoming wedding will only be the second best day of his life.

West Ham ended a 43-year wait to win a trophy when they defeated Fiorentina 2-1 in the final of the Europa Conference League on Wednesday night.

Around 10,000 Hammers fans were in attendance at the Eden Arena, while another 20,000 headed to the Czech capital just to be present for the historic match, the club’s first European final since 1976.

The game itself was slightly marred by one West Ham fan throwing a missile at Fiorentina captain Cristiano Biraghi, leaving him with a nasty gash to the back of his head.

But Paul Smith, 42, owner of The Dubliner pub in Prague’s old town where hundreds of Hammers fans converged, did not have a bad word to say about the cockney invasion.

“I was a little bit worried, because the last team we had over was England a few years ago, and that didn’t end very well,” said Smith, from Dublin.

“There was a riot outside in the courtyard, there were about 3,000 England fans and a few started throwing bottles at the police and then there was tear gas and plastic bullets.

“But I have to say the West Ham fans are a credit to their club. They were as good as the Scots were, the Irish and the Welsh when they came over.

“All I can say is fair play to them. There was a huge number of fans in the city. I was worried when I heard numbers of 30,000 being mentioned.

“I walked out on to the square yesterday and it was pretty full, flags everywhere, and they were just nice from start to finish.

“It’s been a pretty profitable week. And the icing on the cake was West Ham winning. It’s just a shame so many of the fans didn’t have tickets.

“But they didn’t look like they were too disappointed when they were celebrating. It was great.”

Jarrod Bowen’s last-minute goal secured the trophy for West Ham, their first since winning the FA Cup in 1980.

But the club’s first silverware in a generation came at a cost; Hammers fan James, 25, from Coventry, will have a bit of grovelling to do ahead of his forthcoming nuptials.

He said: “I’ve told my missus that when I get back, that when I get married, that this is the best day of my life, and my second best day will be my wedding.”

Czech police have detained several people following a clash between West Ham and Fiorentina fans ahead of the Europa Conference League final in Prague on Wednesday.

The force said Italian fans attacked West Ham fans in a bar in the country’s capital, with three people being left injured as a result.

It was also confirmed a police officer had been attacked during the incident.

Following the clash, 16 people were detained as police “restricted the personal freedom” of those suspected to be involved.

A translation of a Czech police tweet said: “Italy fans attacked West Ham fans in a bar in Rytirska Street, injuring three. One policeman was also attacked. We have restricted the personal freedom of 16 people and we are currently investigating the whole incident.”

Outside the Tek’ila Tek’ila bar in the city centre, a burnt-out chair and broken glass were seen littered across the ground.

One West Ham fan, who did not want to be named, said “a large group” of Italian fans attacked the bar.

“About eight Italians walked past, swinging bands and chains,” he said.

“Five minutes later there was a big group that come down the road and attacked us.”

The man said five West Ham fans were injured.

He said: “Three of our mates (were injured), out of all of this lot there were five. Three of them were our mates. They’ve gone to hospital.”

He added that one of his friends was “quite badly” injured with a “massive cut” on his head.

Videos were also shared on social media appearing to show people throwing chairs at each other in Prague on Wednesday.

West Ham face Fiorentina in the final of the Europa Conference League in Prague on Wednesday night.

Here, the PA news agency shines a spotlight on the Italian outfit.


In qualifying for the showpiece in Prague, Fiorentina became the first team to reach all four finals of the major European competitions. They lost in the European Cup final to Real Madrid in 1957 and won the inaugural Cup Winners’ Cup in 1961 by beating Rangers 4-1 on aggregate in the final. Their last appearance in a European final was a defeat by fierce rivals Juventus in the 1990 UEFA Cup final.


Vincenzo Italiano, 45, spent most of his playing career as a midfielder with Verona. As a coach he led Spezia to promotion to Serie A in 2020 and kept them up the following season before moving to Fiorentina, where he guided ‘I Viola’ back into Europe for the first time since 2017.


Fiorentina have enjoyed a fine end to their league campaign, winning eight, drawing four and losing just two matches since March, securing an eighth-placed finish in Serie A. They also reached the final of the Coppa Italia, where they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Champions League finalists Inter Milan.


Italiano’s free-flowing side are the top scorers in the Conference League with 36 goals, at an average of just over two-and-a-half per match. Italiano also deploys a high defensive line in a bid to squeeze the opposition and control the tempo of the match while dominating possession.

Key men

Morocco World Cup star Sofyan Amrabat could be playing his final match for the Italians amid reported interest from Barcelona and Manchester United. Fellow midfielder Antonin Barak is one of Serie A’s most creative players but could be an injury doubt for the final.

Pablo Fornals is desperate for West Ham to turn a miserable season into a memorable one after firing them into a European final.

The Hammers, who have battled relegation all season, will have the chance to lift their first trophy in 43 years when they take on Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final in Prague next month.

Fornals, on as a substitute, sealed a 1-0 win over AZ Alkmaar on the night, and a 3-1 aggregate victory,  with his stoppage time strike.

The Spanish midfielder said: “It’s unbelievable really. I’m really happy for the club because it was a long time without the club being in this situation. I’m really happy to arrive at this moment with this club.

“First of all, thank you for the people who came here, they’re massive everywhere they go! We know already they’ll be in Prague as well because that’s what West Ham supporters do, they’re always behind us. I’m really happy to be with them.

“Of course, just to have the chance to play the final is very good but after this complicated season, if we can bring the cup to east London it will be even better. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”

West Ham’s glory night in the Netherlands was marred by the sight of hooded AZ Alkmaar fans trying to storm into the area containing friends and families of West Ham’s players and staff at full time.

Players including Lucas Paqueta, Michail Antonio, Flynn Downes, Aaron Cresswell, Angello Ogbonna and Said Benrahma, as well as sporting director and former captain Mark Noble, leapt over the advertising hoardings to try to protect their loved ones.

“To be honest, I didn’t see a lot,” added Fornals. “When the referee whistled for the end I just threw myself into the floor and started crying like a kid.

“After that I went inside and tried to keep the guys in because we don’t need that as players. Obviously, I was really concerned about how the family of my team-mates and the West Ham family are.

“Hopefully, everyone is OK and the police can do their job and realise who did it.

“Of course. It’s not great when you are in that beautiful moment and people who aren’t try to use violence against you. We can’t do anything else but try to help the police to realise who did it and pray for the family of my people being healthy.”

Jarrod Bowen knows exactly what winning a trophy would mean to West Ham fans – he only has to ask his partner’s father Danny Dyer.

The Hammers will bid to reach a first European final in 47 years when they take on Dutch side AZ Alkmaar in the Europa Conference League semi-final.

Former Eastenders hardman Dyer is a huge West Ham supporter and Bowen revealed he has been left in little doubt about the significance of Thursday night’s first leg at the London Stadium.

Bowen, who is expecting twins with Dyer’s daughter Dani, said: “It’s massive.

“I’ve only been here three years but I feel a massive part of this club. I feel like a fan, almost, as well. I know how much it means to the fans and I’m one of them who wants to give them that success.

“The missus’ old man is obviously on me every week. But for everyone, the whole club, it’s not been a great season but staying in the Premier League is the main aim and bringing the trophy home for the fans would be a good end to a bad season.”

Europe has been the one bright spot in a tough season for West Ham, although they took a huge step towards securing their Premier League safety with a 1-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday.

“That result was obviously massive for this club so going into tomorrow night it’s given us a lot of confidence,” added winger Bowen.


“We can use it as a kind of springboard to help us. We know it’s going to be a difficult game.

“They’re a really good side and it’s a European semi-final. We’re at home first so we can use that to our advantage with our fans and the atmosphere I know they’re going to create.”

Last season, West Ham were on their last legs when they reached the Europa League semi-finals, losing over two legs to eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt.

This term, manager David Moyes feels they may just be peaking at the right time.

“I remember Sir Alex Ferguson always used to talk about that this was the time of year where you had to be at your best,” said the former Manchester United and Everton boss.

“It tends to be now that games are really important; semi-finals, finals, league games you have to win. Having your best form at this time of the season is always important.

“I do believe that we’re playing some of our best stuff just now. I think we can still get much better and I’m hoping we’re going to show that in the coming games.”

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