Hull City 5 Birmingham City 2: Boyd is an instant hit as he sets sights on top flight

Plenty of clubs were in the queue for the signature of George Boyd in January, but Hull City were firmly at the back of it.

Hull City's Gedo beats Birmingham City's Steven Caldwell on his way to scoring
Hull City's Gedo beats Birmingham City's Steven Caldwell on his way to scoring

However, short-sightedness by the board at Nottingham Forest enabled Steve Bruce to come to the front of the line and snap up a player who has been the star of the show at Peterborough in the last six seasons, scoring 75 goals in just under 300 appearances.

Boyd is convinced he has made the right move after Forest rejected him on the grounds that he had failed an eyesight test just as they were preparing to part company with the manager who wanted to sign him, Alex McLeish.

Boyd had made his debut off the bench in Hull’s surprising 4-1 defeat at Bolton, but was given a starting role up front against Birmingham, whose manager Lee Clark made a move to land him during the transfer window, having been unsuccessful in attempts to prise him away from Posh when in charge at Huddersfield.

Boyd, who can also be so devastating attacking from deep from the left of midfield, proved an instant hit alongside Egyptian Gedo as the Tigers regained second spot.

Victory set them up nicely for tomorrow night’s encounter at fellow challengers Crystal Palace, a club Boyd has supported since boyhood and yet the ones he rejected in favour of the proposed move to Forest.

“I am expecting some abuse for not choosing them, but I am looking forward to it and have some friends and family going down and I will just go and play my own game,” said Boyd.

“It was either them or Forest and it was difficult having grown up as a Palace fan, but Forest were the bigger club. It was annoying when the move fell through, but everything happens for a reason and I came out of it better for it and am more than happy here.”

Boyd enjoyed three promotions with Peterborough, but told them at the start of the season he would not be signing a new deal and now he is set on ending the Tigers’ three-year exile from the Premier League.

“I am always used to pressure at either end of the table so I am fully aware of what we have got to do,” he said after a dramatic full debut which saw him score inside the first minute.

“The key is to get that momentum of winning games. At Peterborough, we once went 16 games unbeaten at this time of the year.

“March is a big month, and if you can get a run in it, that sets you up nicely for the end of the season. All the boys are together and that is vitally important at this stage.”

Talking of key factors, it was the presence of Bruce at the KC which convinced Boyd to sign a loan deal until the end of the season which will be followed by a two-year contract.

“Hull had not expressed an interest before the move to Forest fell through, but once I had spoken to the manager I was straight in the car up here.

“Steve Bruce being here was definitely a factor in my decision. He is a winner and has won things throughout his career so to play for him and a massive club like Hull was a no-brainer for me.”

After going 3-0 down inside eight minutes at Bolton, it was imperative Hull made a flying start and they did as Robbie Brady played the ball down the left channel and Boyd sprinted clear before side-stepping goalkeeper Jack Butland and tapping home.

“It was fantastic to score,” said Boyd. “I was surprised I was through so early but it came off the cuff. It was natural to take it round the goalie and slot it in and it must be the quickest goal I have ever scored.

“But, overall, the team performance was good. I had seen Hull early in the season and knew how well they play.

“It is hard to play the way we want to on that pitch, but I thought we played some lovely stuff and we linked up well in midfield and worked really well up front.”

Boyd was in no doubt that there would be no hangover from the Bolton defeat. “As soon as Monday came, training was bubbly and the gaffer wanted everyone buzzing and was looking for a reaction (against Birmingham) which there was and it all showed why we are second in the league.

“This is the reason I joined, to be second in the league and going for promotion – exciting times.”

Of his partnership with Gedo, he added: “We clicked very well and he’s going to score a lot of goals between now and the end of the season and when you have Brady and Elmo (Ahmed Elmohamady)on the wings, who raid past every full-back at will, then we are going to create chances.”

Boyd would have crowned his debut with a hat-trick had it not been for Butland, on loan at Birmingham until the end of the season before he makes a permanent move from St Andrews to Stoke City.

After Boyd’s instant opener, however, it was Gedo who made it 2-0 in the 11th minute, brushing off Birmingham’s under-the-weather captain Steven Caldwell as he went down the middle before sidefooting home.

Butland prevented it being 3-0 in the 20th minute when he made a double save from the Tigers duo after Brady had crossed to the near post, but the goalkeeper could only help the ball on its way into the net in the 33rd minute as he went full length to his right as Boyd reacted the quickest after his initial shot had been blocked into his path to present a second opportunity.

It was game over in the 50th minute as Robert Koren accepted a great touch-off from Stephen Quinn and struck home a low drive before Butland produced a stunning save to keep out Boyd’s close-range header two minutes later.

There was nothing he could do but admire Gedo’s bravery at getting his head to a fierce cross-shot from Boyd on 76 minutes to make it 5-0, but there was still time left for Hull’s three centre-backs to blot their otherwise fine copybooks by allowing Peter Lovenkrands and then Chris Burke to score from the edge of the area.