Hibs head coach Neil Lennon has laid down the gauntlet to underperforming strike duo Florian Kamberi and Jamie Maclaren insisting he isn’t afraid to change things next month if things don’t improve.
Lennon elected to partner Lewis Allan with Oli Shaw up front in this afternoon’s 1-1 draw at home to Livingston with Kamberi - who netted in last weekend’s 2-0 victory against Celtic - and Maclaren, who has only started five matches this season, having to make do with a place among the substitutes.
The Northern Irishman admitted rotation was necessary given Hibs’ hectic schedule this week that has seen the Easter Road side play both halves of the Old Firm. However, Lennon sprung a surprise with his decision to go with Shaw and Allan against Livi.
It’s not the first time Kamberi has been singled out for criticism following assistant Garry Parker’s outburst at the Swiss in recent weeks. Kamberi also missed a second-half penalty after Ryan Hardie had given Livi the lead only for Porteous to rescue a point for the Capital outfit with ten minutes left to play.
And, with the transfer window reopening for business in ten days' time, Lennon has issued his final warning.
"I'm not happy with my strikers at the minute but Lewis Allan is the exception,” Lennon said. “I thought he did very well today for what he brings to the team. The rest of them aren't performing. They're not applying themselves, they're not working hard enough.
"I can't remember the last time we headed a goal in from a cross. We're relying on Porteous again to get us out of trouble. We miss a penalty, our application at the top end of the pitch isn't good enough at the minute.
"I'm talking about the same players every week. Efe Ambrose, Porteous, Martin Boyle was back to his best again. They're playing at a level that the rest have to get up to.
“Livingston’s goal comes from Kamberi giving the ball away and falling on his backside. He did that a lot. I don't know if it's a confidence thing or a lack of application but he's nowhere near as hungry as he was last season and he needs to find that hunger again because he's an important player for us.
"He scored against Celtic but he's not got any tap-ins, he's not getting across people, he's not holding the ball up well enough and I'm relying on other players to get us out of it.
“We're not scoring enough goals. Obviously January's coming and we'll need to have a look at it but some of the players need to have a good look at themselves. We changed things last year when we let Anthony Stokes and Simon Murray go and brought in them [Kamberi and Maclaren] and I won’t be afraid to do it again.
“We’ve been talking about this for weeks and we’re not getting a response so we may need to explore other avenues to try and get some goals.”