Neil Lennon has insisted no-one needs to tell him of the threat Queen of the South’s top scorer Stephen Dobbie wields having spent a season watching the striker in action at close hand.
Revealing he’s long been an admirer of the much-travelled former Easter Road frontman, Lennon signed the 33-year-old for Bolton Wanderers last season and isn’t in the least surprised to have seen him score nine times for the club which now tops the Championship.
Hibs have the opportunity to knock the Palmerston Park outfit off their perch when they travel to Dumfries tomorrow with the added incentive of seeking revenge for a Betfred Cup defeat by Gavin Skelton’s side, Dobbie’s first goal since beginning a second spell with Queens sparking a second-half fight back which saw them win 3-1.
The Hibs boss said: “Dobbie is a great player and a great finisher. He is a very good footballer and very intelligent. I liked him a lot when he was at Swansea and Blackpool and that is why I brought him to Bolton. It was a difficult period for everybody there, but he did okay.
“It doesn’t surprise me that he’s banging in the goals up here. He is a real danger for Queens and his introduction has given them a real injection. He has been a catalyst for the run that Queens have gone on.”
Skelton’s players remain unbeaten in the Championship, taking advantage of Hibs’ shock defeat by Ayr United last weekend, to go top of the table but, Lennon insisted, his side will travel to Dumfries intent on ending that run.
And he was adamant that from previous experiences this season, the Europa League exit at the hands of Danish side Brondby and that defeat by Queens, he’ll get the reaction he’s looking for.
He said: “We have to get back on our horse and get a winning run of games again. We’ve lost a couple of games already and the reaction has always been good. I don’t think we played badly last week, we were a bit pedestrian in the first half, but in control of the game.
“Once we scored we looked like we would run away with it, we had five or six good opportunities.”
Marvin Bartley’s red card – now rescinded – proved to be a game-changer against Ayr with goals from Conrad Balatoni and Brian Gilmour earning them that surprise win, but Lennon, whose only previous visit to Palmerston Park was with Celtic’s development squad, said: “I don’t think we deserved to lose the game. Will we get a reaction? I’m positive we will. We know Queens are top of the table and we want to get back there.”