Neil Lennon throws down the gauntlet to Hibs winger Alex Harris

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

NEIL LENNON has challenged Alex Harris a grasp his latest chance to become an Easter Road regular.

The 22-year-old was a revelation when he emerged through the youth ranks under Pat Fenlon. His crowning moment came when he inspired the Hibees to recover from a 3-0 deficit to claim a remarkable 4-3 win over Falkirk in the 2012/13 Scottish Cup semi-final.

However, the waspish winger has struggled for consistency ever since, drifting in and out of the team under Terry Butcher and Alan Stubbs and spending periods on loan with Dundee and Queen of the South, particularly impressing in Dumfries.

Harris was handed his first appearance by Lennon in six months on Saturday when he entered the fray against Morton, and the Hibs head coach is determined to unlock the youngster’s undoubted potential.

Lennon said: “It’s up to Alex, he’s got an opportunity. We think very highly of him, but he’s got to start projecting his talent, because he’s got the talent.

“We’ve all seen it, but he’s got to take that into the first-team now. We’ve been saying that, not just me, but Stubbsy [Alan Stubbs] and Terry Butcher before that.

“It’s down to Alex, the opportunity is there for him. I think he’s capable of doing some really good things in the game.

“There’s something at the minute that’s just holding him back and I need to tap into that.”

Harris’ next chance to impress could come on Saturday when Hibs host Queens in a fixture which could see them crowned champions.

A triumph against Queens will be enough to claim to title, providing Falkirk fail to beat in-form St Mirren.

While simply getting over the line is the priority for the Northern Irishman, Lennon has urged his side to shake of their recent malaise of four draws from the last five matches and hit the 70-point mark.

He told Hibs TV: “The amount of ball we have and we’re not winning games by a more comfortable margin is something I need to look at. I’d like to get to 70 points and we’re on 61 at the minute.

“Maybe I’ll change the way we play in the upcoming games. Certainly for the Aberdeen game, on a big pitch at Hampden, that’s something I need to look at.”

Meanwhile, Hibs have revealed they’ve sold more than 15,000 tickets for their Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen a week on Saturday, while the Dons have shifted 11,500 briefs for the 12.15 p.m. kick-off.

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