Neil Lennon today challenged his players to give him more of the same after a “perfect performance” against Celtic set Hibs up brilliantly for their four remaining Ladbrokes Premiership matches.
The head coach claimed Saturday’s 2-1 win had probably caught Rangers and Aberdeen – their rivals for second place in the table – by surprise but it was one which keeps Hibs’ hopes of that runners-up spot very much alive.
Lennon opted for a bold approach against Celtic, who had pitched up in Edinburgh hoping to clinch their seventh successive title, and he conceded it could have gone all wrong leaving Hibs trailing Rangers and the Dons by six points rather than three.
“I was thinking that before the game,” said Lennon, whose team host Kilmarnock this Saturday. “So we tried to get something out of it. We set the team out to be positive and they adhered to that. They have covered themselves in glory and could enjoy their Saturday night, but they were back in yesterday and we go again.
“Against Celtic you need legs, energy and quality and we had that in abundance and thoroughly deserved our win. But the circumstances and environment will be different for each and every game. Sometimes you can raise your game against a top team, sometimes it goes the other way and you get hammered. But they raised their game brilliantly and we need more of that. But it will be difficult to match that intensity of performance because of the opposition.”
Adamant Hibs had given themselves a good platform going into the post-split fixtures for a tilt at second place, Lennon feels his players have strengthened that bid but warned: “We cannot get carried away, not believe the hype because that is all it is, hype. We have to go out and play.”