Neil Lennon believes December will be a ‘big ask’ for his team after they were handed eight fixtures in that month.
The Easter Road club’s fixture schedule will see them play only five games in seven weeks after the current international break but then eight games in one month, five of them in the space of just 13 days. After facing Celtic in Glasgow a week on Saturday, Hibs have another blank weekend as their league game against Rangers has been postponed due to the Betfred Cup semi-finals, leaving them waiting until the final day of this month before they are in action again, playing Capital rivals Hearts at Tynecastle.
Another international break next month means Lennon’s players will play just three times in November, against Aberdeen, St Johnstone and Dundee. A hectic schedule in December, in which Hibs were already due to play seven matches, has been made even busier with the rearranged game with Rangers having been “shoe-horned” into the calendar, squeezed in between matches against Celtic and Livingston before Lennon’s side take on Rangers again on Boxing Day and they end the calendar year by hosting Hearts at Easter Road.
Lennon said: “The international breaks are a pain in the neck. There’s too many. We had one a few weeks ago and now we have got another and it disrupts you. Sometimes you are dying for an international break because of the volumes of games – but we are only eight games into the season.”
Admitting he was concerned at Hibs’ fixture list, Lennon continued: “We have five games between now and the beginning of December and then eight in December.
“I don’t know why it has worked out that way, but we have to adjust accordingly and plan ahead. It’s a huge volume of games in a short space of time. It’s a big ask.”
When asked if he was surprised to discover the rearranged game with Rangers had been squeezed in at such a busy time, Lennon, with tongue firmly in cheek, replied: “I am delighted because it is the season of goodwill and I am sure I will get a lot of goodwill from the Rangers fans.”