Neil Lennon urges squad: Don’t be the ‘same old Hibs’

Neil Lennon tries to urge on his players against Hamilton
Neil Lennon tries to urge on his players against Hamilton
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Neil Lennon has urged his players to avoid being tagged “same old Hibs” after watching their impressive start to the season shattered as they crashed to a shock defeat by Hamilton.

The Easter Road boss confessed to having no explanation as to where an “abject” performance had come from, saying Accies had thoroughly deserved their 3-1 victory.

Admitting he’ll be looking for a reaction when he takes his team to face pointless Dundee at Dens Park on Sunday, Lennon said: “I’m not going to over-analyse it. We had a brilliant start to the season but now I don’t want people thinking this is the old Hibs, going to Ibrox and winning and then losing to Hamilton.

“That accusation is going to get thrown at us. We have to change that, be far more consistent. And, if we are not going to win games, we have to make sure we are not going to lose.”

Lennon made just one change to the side which had defeated Rangers, bringing in Danny Swanson for Lithuanian midfielder Vykintas Slivka as he felt Hibs would enjoy more of the ball than at Ibrox seven days earlier and, while he accepted he had to take responsibility for the defeat, he insisted there “wasn’t too much wrong” in terms of team selection.

He said: “I don’t know if all the praise had got to the players but we looked flat. In all departments we were poor. I have to take responsibility for that performance but I don’t know where it came from. We looked abject, a bit nervous and there was no crispness to our play.”

A goal down to Rakish Bingham’s early second-half penalty, Lennon replaced Swanson with on-loan Manchester City winger Brandon Barker and switched to a back four as he took off Darren McGregor in favour of Slivka but Louis Longridge pounced on a Paul Hanlon mistake before Bingham claimed his second of the game, Anthony Stokes notching a consolation goal for Hibs in added-on time.

Lennon told Hibs TV: “We were a goal down so we had to get back into the game. We tried to be positive with the substitutions but the way we played we could have been there all day. We scored at the end but it was all academic. But I am the type of manager who would rather lose 2-0 trying to get back into the game rather than being 1-0 down and letting it peter out.”

• Hibs’ development squad begin their league season away to Kilmarnock tonight. Kick-off at Rugby Park is 7pm.