Neil Lennon: Hibs squad is short of quality but we’re working on it

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Hibs boss Neil Lennon admits his squad is not as strong as it was last season.

The Easter Road side could advance to the third round of Europa League qualifying after coming from two goals down to take a 3-2 advantage into the second leg with Asteras Tripolis next week.

Neil Lennon was happy with his team's performance last night but knows he needs to strengthen his squad. Picture: SNS Group

Neil Lennon was happy with his team's performance last night but knows he needs to strengthen his squad. Picture: SNS Group

Florian Kamberi scored a dramatic winner in stoppage time, but he and Stevie Mallan remain the only outfield signings made this summer, while striker Ivan Lendric has spent time on trial with the club.

The club has seen Dylan McGeouch move on at the end of his contract, while John McGinn has been the subject of more than one bid from Celtic, and Lennon has seen several key players from last season’s success leave.

“We are short of quality and we know that,” he said.

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“From the end of last season, with the (Jamie) Maclarens, the Scott Allans, the (Brandon) Barkers of this world, we haven’t been able to replace them just yet but it is a work in progress.

“There are a lot of clubs in the same boat but I am really proud of the squad and starting XI and the guys who came on (against Asteras) to make a contribution against a very good side.

“It could have been more, but the character and quality of football was very good.”

They may not have the depth of squad he would like, but Hibs were still able to influence the game against Asteras from the bench, with Lennon forced to watch from the stands as part of an ongoing touchline ban.

David Gray came on at half-time to provide more balance to the defence, with Steven Whittaker making way and Vykintas Slivka moved into a more familiar position in midfield, and the full-back responded with a goal to pull Hibs level.

That forced Mallan into a deeper midfield position and Lennon was pleasantly surprised by how well he adapted in a second half that his side dominated.

He said: “We got Mallan, McGinn and Slivka in midfield.

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“We had to go for broke at 2-0 down and we hadn’t seen Mallan play in the holding position before - we always thought he was more of an attacking type, but it suited him and suited us.”