Gerard Lyttle delighted to see Liam Boyce continue to impress in Scotland

Liam Boyce scored a 10-minute hat-trick for Ross County in midweek
Liam Boyce scored a 10-minute hat-trick for Ross County in midweek

Cliftonville boss Gerard Lyttle admits it is no surprise to see former Solitude star Liam Boyce blaze a trail in Scotland.

Boyce’s stock continued to rise in midweek with a first-half hat-trick in Ross County’s 7-0 demolition of Falkirk in the Scottish League Cup.

The Northern Ireland striker has now netted nine times in seven outings this season, and played his way into international manager Michael O’Neill’s thoughts for next month’s Euro qualifiers against Greece and Finland.

Cliftonville chief Lyttle remains in close contact with Boyce, and believes the 24-year-old can continue to flourish across the water.

“It is fantastic to see Liam do so well for Ross County,” Lyttle said.

“I keep in contact with him quite a bit and he is a special talent. We always knew he was a quality player when he was at Solitude, and he has gone on to cement that belief.

“He is made for the professional game, and he has started to embrace it. I think he has lost nearly two stone in weight and he is banging in the goals.

“He is also on Michael O’Neill’s radar with Northern Ireland which is also great news for Liam.”

O’Neill will be without talismanic Kyle Lafferty for next month’s game against Greece – the Norwich striker is suspended for the clash at Windsor Park on October 8.

Kilmarnock’s Josh Magennis – who scored twice in a 3-2 defeat to Hearts in midweek – appears in pole position to fill the void,

O’Neill has turned to Magennis from the bench during the Euro qualifiers, but Boyce’s recent goal glut could give the international boss a selection headache.

“It is a nice headache for any manager to have, when strikers are scoring goals,” Lyttle added.

“But I am sure Michael doesn’t need any advice on who to pick – he has done pretty well to now.

“Liam, Josh and Kyle all scored in midweek, so that bodes well for Northern Ireland with the two remaining qualifiers still to come.”