Neil Lennon hopes Hibs can carry on from where they left off before the international break by beating St Johnstone today to win five top-flight matches on the bounce for the first time in almost six years.
Lennon believes the two-weeks of inactivity due to the international break came at exactly the right time with injuries having left him with just 15 fit players following the defeat of Dundee – but he worries the momentum which has taken the Capital outfit to third place in the Premiership may have been broken.
Lennon will have club skipper David Gray, Dylan McGeouch and Brandon Barker – all hurt before half-time against Dundee – available for the visit of Saints, while a late decision will be made on Steven Whittaker who missed the past two games with a back injury.
“In terms of injuries the break came at the right time because the squad was decimated,” said Lennon who has defenders Darren McGregor and Liam Fontaine out on a long-term basis, “But in terms of form and the way we were playing that’s a different matter,
“I don’t know how this break will have affected the momentum. In terms of form, we didn’t want the break to come. We’ve been in very good form and we want to maintain that, particularly going into December where it’s a very heavy month for us.”
While Hibs are riding the crest of a wave at the moment, Tommy Wright’s St Johnstone have gone 546 minutes without a goal since Murray Davidson scored a late winner against Hamilton at the end of September, but Lennon feels the break may also have been timely for the McDiarmid Park side who have Davidson and Michael O’Halloran fit again. Citing how his own team’s results suddenly turned round, he said: “They weren’t on a great run but maybe the little break away from the spotlight will have done them good. They’re a dangerous team and have been very consistent over the last three or four seasons.
“Tommy has been in this position before where they have maybe not won for five or six games and then, all of a sudden, they get a run of three or four wins in a row. St Johnstone are very capable of doing that, I’m very wary of them.”
Having said that, Lennon couldn’t be happier with his players’ performances in recent weeks. “We’d been playing well and not getting the results. Then, bang, we go four in a row and find ourselves in third place. I’m not getting carried away with that but it’s not just the results I’ve been pleased with, the all-round performance and football have been very pleasing.”
Meanwhile, Hibs have announced their SFA Youth Cup tie against Inverness Caley will take place at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium on Sunday, November 26, at 1pm.
Before then the Easter Road youngsters will bid to retain their place at the top of the SPFL Development League when they face Dundee United at Montrose’s Links Park on Monday, kick-off 6pm.