BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
NEIL LENNON last night hailed a “ferocious” display by Hibernian and lauded “priceless” talisman Jason Cummings after the Easter Road side battered Hearts 3-1.
The hosts outplayed, out-thought and out-fought the Jambos on an electric evening at a sold-out Easter Road, with goals from Jason Cummings – his sixth goal in seven derbies – Grant Holt and Andrew Shinnie doing the damage.
Hibs are now unbeaten in seven capital clashes. More importantly, however, the holders march on to the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup, where they face an eminently winnable home tie against Ayr United. Having smashed a 114 year hoodoo last May, Hampden beckons again.
And Lennon was thrilled by his team’s relentless showing, reserving particular praise for his “big game player” Cummings – who also claimed an assist for Holt – after the club rejected a £1.8 million bid from Peterborough last summer.
He said: “‘It was just Jason’s all-round game, the opposite of what it was on Saturday [1-1 against Raith Rovers]. I reminded him before the game that we had a £1.8 million bid in the summer – that wouldn’t pay for his right leg!
“I want him to stay at that level now. He’s a big-game player. With the derby goals he’s got, and big game goals he’s got – that’s the talent he has. It’s invaluable.
“Overall, it was magnificent. We blew hearts away. So dominant. I couldn’t have asked for any more.
“You could see what it meant to players, who were ferocious – absolutely ferocious. I think it should have been more. We could have had four or five.
“That’s the enigma of this team, the magic formula to play at this level all the time. We played against a good side and made them look ordinary tonight. In a derby, which is never easy to play in because it’s always fraught. We handled the occasion very well.”