BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
EFE AMBROSE insists Brendan Rodgers and Neil Lennon have been a match made in heaven for him as the Hibs loan star attempts to kick-start his career at Easter Road.
Ambrose, 28, has been a hit since joining the Hibees from Celtic for the rest of the season, capped by a man of the match display in last Friday’s crucial 1-0 win over Championship rivals Dundee United.
The dominant performance belied the fact he played just two games under Rodgers at Celtic – a humbling 1-0 defeat against Lincoln Red Imps and a draw with Astana in Kazakhstan – having been derided in some quarters as a liability at the back.
However, Ambrose insists he is relishing the opportunity to employ the lessons he learned under Rodgers – while enjoying first-team football with Lennon, the man who brought him to Scotland almost five years ago.
The Nigerian internationalist said: “Even at Celtic, the most important thing for me was to work on my game. The gaffer [Brendan Rodgers] has technically helped me a lot. He has taught me more about how to manage the ball, compose myself and make less mistakes.
“That was important. When I was not playing a lot, I made sure I was learning – which has really helped me.
“I can say I have improved and know what it means to play in defence and really be a defender – positioning, communication – these are things I was taught before I left.
“Coming to Hibs with Lennon, he is similar. He doesn’t like you making mistakes, he wants you to play simple and concentrate – never lose your head and always know where the ball and the man is. From working with Brendan, to coming to work with Lennon again, has helped me a lot.”
That pivotal triumph at Tannadice means Hibs now possess a 10 point lead over United, albeit Falkirk – on a nine-match unbeaten run in the league – are only six behind the capital club in second spot.
And, ahead of Saturday’s visit of Dumbarton, Ambrose insists the Hibees are determined to reach the levels of consistency demanded by Lennon.
He continued: “Winning is not easy, the coach always says that – but he is trying to give us that winning mentality. If you have that, then you can withstand any pressure, no matter what the situation is.
“The gaffer has told us we need to be consistent and always lift our game, from the first blow of the whistle.”
Ambrose may have only joined the club little more than a fortnight ago, but he is adamant the desire to secure a return to the Premiership at the third time of asking is palpable.
He told Hibs TV: “The boys I have met here, they are young players who want success. I know the disappointment they felt after missing out last season – I can see that they are hungry to get the team back to the Premiership.
“It is not just for themselves, but for the fans who have stuck with them for the last three seasons. This is the campaign for them to really pay back the fans for everything they have given to the team.”