Neil Lennon was perfectly entitled to rip into the Hibs players after Saturday’s lacklustre draw with Raith Rovers.
Personally, I found it refreshing to see a manager calling a spade a spade the way he did. If the players can’t handle what he had to say, then, frankly, they shouldn’t be at a club like Hibs.
After the Hearts game, Neil praised them to the hilt. Having done that, he then had every right to give them stick for letting him down in a match they should have been winning.
Neil’s a winner and he wants us to get this title wrapped up as quickly as possible. He was basically saying on Saturday that, to make sure we get back to the Premiership, we need to be ultra-consistent, and that’s not happening.
The inconsistency is an issue he’s inherited – it’s why we’re in our third year in the Championship – and I think Neil’s just had enough of making excuses for the players after another slack display against a team we should be beating.
We always turn up in the big matches, but too often in the nitty-gritty games over the last few seasons, we’ve fallen flat. It’s frustrating for the supporters and it’s obviously frustrating for Neil because it’s made our title bid far more stressful than it needed to be.
Hibs should have been strong enough to have the title pretty much tied up by now. Yes, there are plenty decent teams in the Championship who can make it hard for you, but the blunt fact is we have comfortably the best squad on paper, and should have been capable of more than 14 wins out of 24.
We had a chance to turn the screw after a strong start to the season and we didn’t take it, and we’ve had chances to do it over the last few weeks but have slipped up against two sides near the bottom of the league.
We’ve been saved by the fact none of our rivals have been consistent enough to properly challenge us. Seven points is a decent lead but, with no obvious rival, we should have been looking at being 15 points clear by this stage. We’re just creating pressure for ourselves.
I’m sure we’ll see a positive response from the players against Hearts on Wednesday, but the key thing is whether we see a response against Dunfermline on Saturday and in the rest of the lower-key league games after that.