Neil Lennon: ‘Not even Champions League triumph could trump Scottish Cup success in eyes of Hibs fans’

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BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport

NEIL Lennon got up close and personal with hundreds of Hibs fans last weekend – and left with the impression that not even winning the Champions League could trump last season’s Scottish Cup triumph.

Lennon attended the testimonial dinner for Lewis Stevenson last Saturday, which attracted a sell-out crowd of 850 and featured an hour-long performance from The Proclaimers.

It allowed the new Easter Road manager to meet and chat with a few dyed-in-the-wool Hibees and he is relishing the positivity that has been created by May’s historic Scottish Cup success against Rangers.

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He said: “Lewis’s dinner was good. There was a hell of a turnout, everyone was in good form – obviously the fans think very highly of him.

“And for someone in the modern day to spend 10 years at a club it is very rare.

“I think the timing of it was perfect for Lewis, off the back of winning the cup.

“I get the impression even if Hibs had won the Champions League it wouldn’t have meant the same as winning the Scottish Cup for some supporters.

“It seems to have meant the world to them.

“What struck me about it was just the love of the club. They really love their club and there is a real feel-good factor about the place.

“They made me feel very welcome and the atmosphere was fantastic. Long may it continue.”

The favourable feeling has been helped by four straight wins in the league so far this season, a feat the club last managed way back in 1974.

CONSISTENCY

And, with a tough trip to face Dumbarton away on Saturday, Lennon has urged his side to keep their momentum up as they bid to add the Championship title to last season’s momentous cup victory.

When asked about the best start in 42 years, he added: “It means something to me, I don’t know if the players are aware of it or not.

“It’s good consistency. It was important we made a good start to the season and we have done that.

“Once you have won four can you go five? That’s the next thing on the agenda.”

Meanwhile, Hibs have decided against offering Poland internationalist Filip Modelski a contract.

The right-back was on trial with the club and played for the under-20s in Tuesday’s meeting with Motherwell, but has not done enough to win a deal.

Lennon explained: “We’re not taking that option on. We have had a good look at him and he’s not for us.

“We have other options but they’ll be put to the back burner until after the weekend.

“We’re still trying to create a place there as right-back cover for David.”

@IainCollin

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