Neil Lennon expects '˜reaction' from Hibs players against Livingston

Neil Lennon expects to see a reaction from his players as Hibernian prepare to take on Livingston in the Betfred Cup quarter-final.

Monday, 18th September 2017, 3:44 pm
Updated Monday, 18th September 2017, 3:49 pm
Neil Lennon is hoping for a reaction from his players after the 'Jekyll and Hyde' performance against Motherwell. Picture: SNS Group

The Hibs boss was fuming with his side’s ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ performance against Motherwell on Saturday, when they gave up a two-goal lead as they were held 2-2 to make it three draws on the bounce.

They host Livingston on Tuesday night and Lennon made it clear he expects his players to bounce back in what he expects to be a tough game.

“Whenever we’ve had a disappointing or adverse performance, I’ve always had a decent bounce back from this group,” he said.

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Marvin Bartley challenges Motherwell's Andy Rose. The midfield enforcer faces a late fitness test ahead of Tuesday's match. Picture: SNS Group

“I like this group, but sometimes they throw one in from left field and you’re like ‘where does it come from?’

“You’re left scratching your head but it’s down to me to make sure it’s not a regular occurrence.

“Sometimes they’re Jekyll and Hyde, really good for long periods and then a malaise sets in and they can’t get themselves out of it.

Marvin Bartley challenges Motherwell's Andy Rose. The midfield enforcer faces a late fitness test ahead of Tuesday's match. Picture: SNS Group

“We need to rectify that or try and make it better.”

Lennon was openly critical of his players following the game, and admits it has coaxed improved performances out of his side before

He said: “I can’t sugar coat abject performances. I lambasted them after Raith Rovers last season and then we went and beat Hearts comfortably on the Wednesday night.

“Whether we get that type of reaction again, I don’t know.”

He added: “They know they let themselves down, they’re disappointed but we’re over it now and have a quarter-final to look forward to which is a big game in the context of the season.

“It is one we should approach in a positive manner whilst still respecting the opponent, because Livingston had another great win at the weekend.

“They’ve taken to the Championship very well and it’s a quarter-final so we have to be right at it.”

With Celtic clear favourites to retain their Premiership crown, Lennon is targeting cup success.

“It’s important for our club to get to the semi-final,” he said.

“There’s only two real opportunities [to win something], with the league maybe beyond us, there are two competitions we have done pretty well in in the last couple of years and I’d like to keep that going.”#

Team news: Bartley faces late fitness test

Marvin Bartley is the only fresh concern for Lennon as he prepares his Hibernian side for their Betfred Cup quarter-final against Livingston.

The midfielder hurt his back in training on Monday, and will be assessed ahead of the game on Tuesday but is expected to be fit.

Central defenders Liam Fontaine (ankle) and Darren McGregor (knee) remain long-term absentees, while Lennon also admitted he is likely to shuffle the pack against the Ladbrokes Championship side.

Provisional squad: Marciano, Gray, Whittaker, Stevenson, Hanlon, Ambrose, McGeouch, Slivka, McGinn, Bartley, F Murray, Matulevicius, Swanson, S Murray, Stokes, Porteous, Barker, Laidlaw.