Goal difference will do for Lennon as long as Hibs win title

Neil Lennon knows the next two home games are crucial to  Hibs' hopes
Neil Lennon knows the next two home games are crucial to Hibs' hopes
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Hibs boss Neil Lennon has admitted he’d happily win the Championship title by just a point or even on goal difference as the Easter Road outfit prepare to face their two biggest rivals in the space of just five days.

The Capital club top the table by seven points from both Falkirk, whom they face at home tomorrow, and Morton, visitors to Easter Road on Wednesday, two crunch clashes which could prove crucial to their hopes of ending three seasons in the second tier of Scottish football.

While admitting his side had been guilty of dropping some vital points in recent weeks, Lennon insisted Hibs remain in “a very good position” having lost just once since the beginning of December with both Falkirk and Morton having proved incapable of taking full advantage of their slip-ups. Hibs, however, will go into tomorrow’s match against the Bairns without both goalkeeper Ofir Marciano and midfielder John McGinn – on international duty with Israel and Scotland respectively – a situation Lennon described as “surreal”, his side being forced to go ahead with such an important game while missing two key players.

Although he backed Ross Laidlaw as an able deputy for Marciano and can welcome back midfielders Fraser Fyvie and Dylan McGeouch from suspension and injury, Lennon insisted the loss of Marciano and McGinn was “definitely a hindrance” as far as Hibs were concerned.

Adamant the “historical rivalry” which exists between Hibs and Falkirk will see tomorrow’s game take care of itself, Lennon has called on his players to ditch the “Jekyll and Hyde” performances which have plagued them recently, pointing out that they were poor in the first half of their 2-2 draw with Dumbarton last week but great in the second.

He said: “We just need to bring those two halves together, if we do that then we’ll take some stopping. But we’ve only lost one game since the beginning of December so we’ve been pretty consistent. There’s been a frustration because we have played well and not won but overall I’ve been pretty pleased with the level of performance and the attitude and commitment of the players.”

With central defender Paul Hanlon back training after nearly three months out with a pelvic problem, Lennon’s injury problems are easing but, he revealed, skipper David Gray is rated doubtful for tomorrow with a tight hamstring.

He said: “Having Paul back training and Dylan and Fraser back we are stronger. I’m quietly confident we are moving in the right direction. If we win the league by a point or on goal difference it doesn’t really matter to me. Obviously, you’d like it to be a lot more comfortable, but we have put ourselves in a very good position.”