Neil Lennon has admitted he is baffled by Hibs’ sudden fall from grace, a run of five straight victories shattered by four games without a win that culminated in a shock exit from the Irn-Bru Cup at the hands of St Mirren.
The Easter Road boss was scathing in his assessment of his team’s performance as, for the third time in four games they surrendered the lead to lose to the Championship’s basement club on Saturday.
Lennon branded the first half “insipid” despite Alex Harris giving Hibs the lead, while Saints’ winning goal from David Clarkson was branded as “a nonsense” and “amateur stuff”.
Adamant the current problems – the Capital side have also taken just two points from a possible nine in their last three league games – are “psychological”, Lennon said: “It’s frustrating with the players with the ability we have, very frustrating.
“I do not understand it. We prepare them as well as we can, but we are not getting the performances back. Maybe it’s a mental thing. It’s definitely a psychological thing, not physical at the minute.
“There’s a nervousness about them for some reason. I don’t know what it is. Maybe because we’ve not won a game in three or four weeks.
“They are lacking the urgency to go and win the game and make things happen. We give them that licence to do that.
“We have the platform because our back four and midfield do tend to dominate games, especially at this level, but to lose to St Mirren at home should not be happening.”
As promised, Lennon didn’t make wholesale changes for a competition which has failed to grip the paying public, a crowd of only 4393 at a ground which so far this season has been boasting average gates of more than 15,000.
Only two were made – one enforced by John McGinn’s absence on international duty with Scotland – but Lennon refused to use that as an excuse, saying: “Not on his performance last week [in the 1-1 draw with Dundee United], but John is an important player.
“We had enough out there to put in performance at home in this competition. You are always going to miss a player of John’s quality, but we knew he wasn’t going to be here.
“The team I put out I expected to get a good performance. I didn’t and I have to address it. There’s not many positives to take.
“I changed the formation to give some players an opportunity, but I’m not sure they took it.
“The second goal was a nonsense, we should never have got into that position in the first place. It was amateur stuff and it needs to stop.
“Senior players as well with no thought as to what they are doing. It’s asking for trouble, it’s going to come no matter who you are playing. It’s not the way we want them to play, it’s not the way we train them, so it’s a psychological thing.
“Maybe I need to look at myself and see what I am doing wrong. But we train them as well as we possibly can.”