Hibs boss Neil Lennon has claimed three away matches in just six days is unfair on the Easter Road side, leaving him with little time to prepare for tomorrow’s clash with Premiership leaders Celtic.
Lennon admitted his players looked tired towards the end of Wednesday night’s match against Dundee at Dens Park following their efforts in the Scottish Cup derby with Hearts at Tynecastle.
But having given his squad yesterday off to recover after their narrow victory on Tayside, Lennon revealed he’ll have to take stock when they report back today although his options to freshen things up are limited by injuries to David Gray, Steven Whittaker, Marvin Bartley and Deivydas Matulevicius.
Lennon declared himself delighted with the 1-0 victory over Dundee, the win taking them to just five points behind Rangers and Aberdeen who lie joint second in the table.
“It was a really important result with Rangers and Hearts also winning,” he said. “To get the three points was terrific and I was really proud of the players but Celtic away is the toughest game you are going to get on the calendar.
“We looked very tired towards the end at Dens Park. Three away games in six days is a huge ask and is pretty unfair on us. We gave the players yesterday off and while they’ll be back in today we’ll probably have little preparation time for Celtic.
“I’ll look to freshen things up a little bit, but I cannot do that much.”
Again Lennon bemoaned the opportunities passed up by his side at Dens to enjoy a more comfortable victory but the fact they are creating so many chances was “a huge positive”.
To that end, Brandon Barker admitted he was probably partly to blame having failed to make the most of being one-on-one with Dundee goalkeeper Elliott Parish tiwce but, declared the on-loan Manchester City youngster, Hibs can wing their way to another positive result at Celtic Park.
Suggesting the Capital club could well adopt a counter-attacking approach tomorrow, he said: “Hopefully we’ll get myself free on one side and Martin Boyle on the other to try to create opportunities then it’s just whether we can take them.”
Barker is without a goal since signing on for the season but, claimed the 21-year-old, one goal could provide the spark for many more. He said: “It’s not happening at the minute but I am sure they will come, hopefully sooner rather than later. I’ve just not been getting that rub of the green, maybe I need one to roll through the goalkeeper’s legs or something like that and I’ll be flying again. There wouldn’t be a better time than tomorrow but Celtic are a great team and hard to beat.”