Neil Lennon admits he’s got a lot of work to do as he bids to ensure new-look Hibs are equipped to spark their Premiership campaign into life when they host Kilmarnock on Saturday week.
The manager was concerned by the absence of “character”, “belief” and “cohesion” as his team lost 2-1 away to Livingston on Saturday and is disappointed by a return of just five points from the first four league games.
Lennon acknowledged that the turnover of players over the summer could be deemed a mitigating factor and, with no game this weekend as a result of the international break, he is hoping the extra time in the build-up to the visit of the Rugby Park side to Easter Road on September 15 can allow him to integrate his most recent recruits and ensure the team is equipped to play with significantly more purpose and bullishness. “I think the players are much better than the performance against Livingston showed,” he said. “We had a lack of quality and a lack of belief. I don’t know if it’s too many changes too quickly but we need to get players bedded in quickly and start rectifying it. That’s our first defeat but we’ve got five points from four games which is not enough. It’s going to be a long two weeks. I’m sure the players will be looking forward to getting back to playing but maybe the break will give us a chance to get players up to speed.”
As well as improving their performance level, Lennon also intends to work on the mentality of his players. “It’s unacceptable to be as disjointed as we were (at Livingston),” Lennon told Hibs TV. “No players took responsibility. After Livingston equalised, the momentum was with them and we looked as if we lacked a bit of character to go and get another goal. I don’t know if the players were ready for the game, but they should have been.
“If we’re not going to compete, which is very unlike us, then we could be in for a long season. I’ve got a bit of work to do and also on the mental side of the game as well.”