Hibs head coach Neil Lennon delighted to prove doubters wrong over pitch comments following Hearts victory



Hibs head coach Neil Lennon admits he enjoyed proving the doubters wrong after being told that the Easter Road pitch would suit Hearts.

The former Celtic manager revelled in Wednesday’s emphatic 3-1 Scottish Cup fifth round replay victory over their fierce city rivals after his side produced a dynamic performance that was full of energy and attacking verve.

A rutted Tynecastle pitch, which is currently being relaid, was blamed for the dull goal-less draw between the sides in the first game, and Hearts head coach Ian Cathro and his players had hoped that a better surface in Leith would aid their desire to dominate possession.

However, the cup holders never gave their Gorgie counterparts an inch in a commanding display in front a sell-out crowd and Lennon reckons Hibs had the last laugh over the pitch remarks.

He said: “Everyone was telling me that the pitch would suit Hearts and Hearts would come and play us off the pitch. I enjoyed those comments because we can play, and we are a hungry team.

“More than anything the level of performance for 90 minutes was intense, controlled, ferocious at times and it was quality.”

The bragging rights remain firmly in north-east of the city after Hibs stretched their unbeaten derby run to seven games but Lennon, whose side face Ayr United in the quarter-finals, insists the Championship leaders have achieved nothing yet.

Speaking to Hibs TV, he added: “Hopefully psychologically it will give everyone a lift, the players, the supporters. But a word of caution, it’s a cup tie. We’ve won the derby game and we’re in the quarter-finals, that’s it.

“There’s huge potential in this club, I don’t want to get carried away because we have to earn the right to get out of this division but you can see what the club and the players are capable of.

“We’re a big club in Scotland and we have to earn the right to get out of it. The potential is good and the fan base is superb.”