Hibs boss Neil Lennon has claimed victory over Falkirk today will make it “virtually impossible” for the Bairns to pip the Easter Road club to the Championship title.
Falkirk arrive in Edinburgh seven points adrift of Hibs and level with fellow challengers Morton, the Capital outfit’s opponents on Wednesday night. Lennon is convinced the importance of these two fixtures will bring out the best in his players following the disappointment of a 2-2 draw with Dumbarton last weekend.
Admitting he’s looking for more energy, tempo and intensity than was shown during the first half against the Sons, Lennon said: “I think we are in a good position and the players have earned it. Sometimes, I might set the bar a little bit high for them but I know they can reach that. I just want them to do it on a more consistent basis.
“We didn’t lose against Dumbarton, we showed a lot of character to come back and draw. We thoroughly dominated the game in terms of possession and chances and that was the frustration. But Falkirk were beaten [by Morton] so we actually gained a point on them.
“Now we play them and I think if we win the game it will be virtually impossible for Falkirk to catch us.”
Lennon has warned his players to focus only on today’s game, pointing to Falkirk’s record of not having lost on their last six visits to Easter Road, a sequence which dates back to 2009. He said: “Our games this season have been pretty close and we’ve taken seven out of nine points from them.
“But we haven’t beaten them here for a while so it would be nice to take that record as well. Peter Houston sets his team up strong, they have goals in them. They work hard for each other and had put together a good run up to last weekend.
“However, we have been on a great run ourselves with only one defeat since the beginning of December which I think is overlooked sometimes. We are in a strong position but now we have to reinforce that.”
Lennon was at Easter Road on Wednesday midfielder to see Falkirk winger Fraser Aird star in Canada’s 1-1 draw with Scotland, the former Rangers youngster getting his first goal of his country as he opened the scoring.
While admitting he was impressed, Lennon insisted he was backing Hibs defender Lewis Stevenson to shackle the Falkirk player. He said: “Fraser Aird had an excellent game against Scotland – but I’m not sure if he has played that well for Falkirk. International matches are different from the cut and thrust of league games. We’ll have to keep an eye on him, but Lewis Stevenson is one of the best full-backs in the country – he’s been very consistent and Aird will have to have a very good game to get the better of him.”