Neil Lennon delighted as Hibs '˜get what they deserve' at Killie
Hibs boss Neil Lennon has claimed his players are finally getting the results they deserve after a third successive win hoisted the Easter Road outfit into third place in the Premiership table.
Goals from John McGinn, Simon Murray and Martin Boyle against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park earned the Capital club a scoreline which Lennon admitted probably flattered his side.
Nevertheless, he insisted they deserved their victory, hailing a save from goalkeeper Ofir Marciano from Killie’s veteran striker Kris Boyd when Hibs led 1-0 as “world class”.
And he praised the courage of midfield dynamo McGinn - who was a doubt before the game with a thigh injury - for playing through the pain to power home a tenth minute header.
Lennon said: “It was fantastic, another great performance. We had to dig in at times and the scoreline flattered us maybe. I think we deserved to win, but Killie deserved to score. They had one off the bar and my goalkeeper has made an unbelievable save. We scored three fantastic goals. To be third in the league at this stage of the season is very very pleasing.
“I’ve been saying for a while we have been playing well without getting the results and now we are beginning to get the results. The players are coming into real top-class form. It’s been a big ask. We don’t have the squad of Celtic, the luxury of replacing like with like.”
Lennon, who had Steven Whittaker added to his squad’s growing injury list with a back problem, revealed the extent of the injury for McGinn. “It’s a combination of punishment he has been taking in games,” he said. “He was a bit ginger on it before the game, but we couldn’t leave him out. He is going to need a rest at some stage, but the way the squad is, we can’t give him too much of a rest.
“We have another game on Saturday [against Dundee] so we’ll see how he recovers. There is a lot of tissue damage in the thigh, but it takes a lot to stop him. We felt we had to keep an eye on him during the game and he probably played longer than we wanted him to.”
Lennon admitted it was only natural that his players began to show signs of tiredness in what was their fourth game in ten days, but he was delighted with the way they dug in to secure the win, Murray easing worries that Kilmarnock might equalise with his 12th goal of the season before Boyle added the third deep into added on time.
“We are a bit light, we are picking up a few injuries. We had to leave Steven out – I hope he’s okay for the weekend – but [replacement] David Gray did a great job. Ryan Porteous came on did great job and I’m hoping the likes of Anthony Stokes and Danny Swanson will be back soon, because we need that bit of help.
“But the players are playing remarkably well under the circumstances. My goalkeeper was world class, he’s been great since he came back in and the save and from Boyd was as good as Craig Gordon’s from Whittaker the other week.
“Everything he dealt with he dealt with brilliantly. We are a good team, our away record this season has been sensational.”
Asked if he felt McGinn’s injury worry might rule him out of Scotland’s friendly against Holland next week, Lennon added: “I would prefer him to go, the form he is in. Unless he is really injured, I won’t be ringing Malky [Mackay, interim Scotland manager] about that.”