Neil Lennon compares Ibrox victory to Celtic beating Barcelona

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Neil Lennon said he got as big a buzz from Hibernian’s win over Rangers as the one produced when his Celtic side famously downed Barcelona.

READ MORE - Rangers 1 - 2 Hibs: Maclaren penalty earns win at Ibrox

Hibs manager Neil Lennon saw his side defeat Rangers at Ibrox for the second time this season. Picture: SNS

Hibs manager Neil Lennon saw his side defeat Rangers at Ibrox for the second time this season. Picture: SNS

The Easter Road side sparkled at Ibrox, especially during the opening 45 minutes, as they claimed a 2-1 win over Gers.

John McGinn and Jamie MacLaren fired the goals which move the Leith outfit to within two points of Graeme Murty’s side in third.

But it was the battling display of his injury-hit squad after the break which really pleased former Parkhead manager Lennon as he said the triumph ranks up there alongside the Hoops’ 2012 2-1 victory over the Catalan giants in his list of career highlights.

“I have to pay tribute to my players,” said the Northern Irishman. “That’s right up there for me in my managerial career, next to Barcelona under the circumstances with the injuries.

“I had Paul Hanlon, Darren McGregor, Steven Whittaker and David Gray all out then we lose Brandon Barker after five minutes so I have got Lewis Stevenson, who is a left-back playing at centre-half. I have John McGinn playing left wing-back, Martin Boyle playing right wing-back.

“I’ve got two strikers who haven’t played together before and I have Scott Allan making his second debut. It’s an incredible performance and all the plaudits should go to the players. They were amazing today, especially first half. They played some unbelievably good football.”

McGinn rifled Hibs ahead four minutes before the break as they got their rewards for their relentless energy during the first period.

But Gers hit back with Sean Goss’ free-kick on 73 minutes.

However, the hosts’ celebrations were cut short as James Tavernier’s needless barge on Allan presented Australian paceman MacLaren - who was thrown on just five minutes in when Barker’s hamstring went - with a spot-kick, which he fired past Wes Foderingham.

Gers have now lost five games at home this season and Murty admitted his men were “naive” to allow Hibs back in just two minutes after dragging themselves level.

Tavernier has pleaded his innocence over the penalty but the Rangers boss admitted his frustration after his side passed up the chance to put pressure on Celtic after their defeat to Kilmarnock.

He said: “Regardless of whether it’s a penalty or not we’ve put ourselves in a situation where a poor press at the wrong time has allowed them into our final third.

“James said it was the softest thing he’s ever seen. I asked him, ‘Have you put your hands on him’. He said, ‘No’.

“There’s nothing you can do about it now but it’s a lesson to us all that if you get into that area, the last thing you want to do is let the referee be a factor in the game and we’ve managed to make that happen.

“Of course it feels like an opportunity missed. I said to the players we can’t worry about what’s happened (at Rugby Park). We have to take care of business.

“We should be walking out of here with a minimum of a point but we’re going away with nothing.”