Agreeing new Hibs deal a ‘no-brainer’ for Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon is loving being head coach of Hibs
Neil Lennon is loving being head coach of Hibs
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Hibs boss Neil Lennon has admitted agreeing a new contract was “a no-brainer” as far as he is concerned because he is loving life with the Easter Road club.

Lennon’s current deal was due to run out at the end of the season but he is on the verge of extending it, revealing talks were already underway as he guided the Capital outfit to the Championship title and back into the top flight in his first year in charge.

Those discussions, however, were put on hold as the club concentrated on strengthening the playing squad with nine signings made over the summer, negotiations “revving up” in the past couple of weeks to the point Lennon expects the deal to be announced in the next 24 to 48 hours.

And, as much as he feels genuine progress has been made, Lennon, pictured, pointed to last weekend’s shock defeat at home by Hamilton as proof of his contention that there’s still plenty for him to do.

Although the length of the new contract has yet to be disclosed, Lennon said: “From a personal point of view, it’s a no brainer. I am very happy here, I am really enjoying what I am doing. I think I have a good group of players and I work with some very good people above me.

“They have made this job, which is never easy, easier. And the support I have had from the fans has been fantastic since day one. Sometimes it is all about job satisfaction and I am very happy here.

“I enjoy the structure here, the training ground and stadium are excellent and that always helps. But, in the main, I have a very good group of players to work with. The board and Leeann [Dempster, chief executive] and George [Craig, head of football operations] are fantastic to work with as well. They have made the transition into the job for me a lot more comfortable.”

While Hibs pulled off a major coup in appointing Lennon to succeed Scottish Cup-winning boss Alan Stubbs, there was little doubt it was also an important decision for coach himself after his move south to take charge of Bolton Wanderers turned sour following a highly-successful time as both player and manager at Celtic.

He said: “There were huge mitigating circumstances with that. My hands were tied but people don’t see it that way – they just look at results. They aren’t really interested in the other side of it.

“But that was a good learning experience for me as well. Thankfully, I never foresaw any of those problems here – the club is healthy. I came in at a good time off the back of winning the cup that meant a lot to a lot of people at the club and the supporters who had waited a lifetime for that to happen.

“Obviously, it was important to carry that on, and then there was the challenge of trying to get the club back up. I enjoyed that immensely as well.

“Talks really revved up the last couple of weeks. There were initial talks at the end of the season and we decided to leave it. We wanted to get business done with the squad first.

“But, to be fair to Leeann and the board, they always maintained they would come back to me and it has really progressed over the last week or so, which I am delighted about. I’m very happy with what’s on offer as well. I am very proud to be the manager here. It’s a privilege and it’s one I want to maintain for as long as I can.”