Hibs boss Neil Lennon will be back to oversee his squad’s first full week of pre-season training after returning to France today for Northern Ireland’s Euro 2016 “Battle of Britain” with Wales.
Lennon was already committed to working with the BBC before being appointed successor to Alan Stubbs at Easter Road and will pay a “flying visit” to Paris for the last-16 game in the Parc de Princes having been at East Mains this week with his assistant Garry Parker to meet his players and begin their preparations for the season ahead.
After an initial two days the Hibs players were enjoying a day off today to recover before training intensifies ahead of their first competitive match, the Europa League tie against either Valur of Iceland or Denmark’s Brondby, the first leg being in Edinburgh on Thursday, July 14.
Today George Craig, Hibs head of football operations, insisted plenty of hard work had already been done behind closed doors, the Capital club opting against inviting the media in to witness the first couple of days.
He said: “I think we had to be a wee bit pragmatic to get things settled in here and that’s why we did not throw the doors open on day one. We wanted to give Neil as a new manager coming in time to meet his players.
“We didn’t want the situation where we were all shaking hands, being introduced for the first time and having the press wandering about at the same time. It might have been different had Alan, John Doolan and Andy Holden still been here, it would have been pretty seamless, but we felt that with a new management team we needed a bit of time. However, things are fully up and running.”
Pointing out that football has moved on from “running up and down sands dunes,” Craig revealed the players had spent their first morning conducting fitness tests before a technical/conditioning session in the afternoon. While that work was “relatively light” it was were replaced by “much, much more high intensity” sessions yesterday which will continue from tomorrow.