Hibs boss Neil Lennon has warned his players he’s expecting them to produce the level of performance which so nearly smashed Celtic’s 16-month unbeaten run in Scottish football every week.
Lennon admitted he couldn’t have been more proud of his side following their 2-2 draw at Celtic Park, John McGinn’s double only cancelled out ten minutes from time when Hoops midfielder Callum McGregor claimed his own second of the game.
Conceding his Easter Road squad can prove to be “a bit Jekyll and Hyde” – no doubt recalling how they suffered a shock home defeat to Hamilton only seven days after beating Rangers at Ibrox – Lennon wants to see a repeat of their displays in Glasgow when they face Aberdeen following the international break.
He said: “Subconsciously, they can raise it for the big games and, when the expectation lifts a bit, they can let themselves down. They have to take a lot from Saturday and try to transfer that into other games. But it is not easy to do it. We could have gone to Celtic Park and been beaten 4-0, but their drive and concentration levels were great. I need that every week – that quality, that belief. But we are unbeaten away from home, we have made a fantastic start to the season and we almost caused a brilliant upset.”
Striker Anthony Stokes, however, questioned Lennon’s description of his side while admitting that at times they don’t quite live up to expectations.
Stokes said: “I wouldn’t say we have been up and down but it can happen. There are a lot of new players who have come in this year. There are some inexperienced players in the team, young lads. It will come. I think overall this season we have made a great start. Perhaps we could have had some better results. We have dominated against the likes of Dundee and St Johnstone and didn’t see them out. We went up to Ross County, a tough venue, didn’t play as well as we have, didn’t dominate and came away with the three points. It is just about trying to kill off games.”
• Hibs’ Premiership clash with Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, originally scheduled for Saturday, October 21 – the day Neil Lennon’s side face Celtic in the Betfred Cup semi-finals – will now be played on Tuesday, October 31 with a 7.45pm kick-off.