Hibs head coach Neil Lennon was in stitches watching Jason Cummings’ hilarious wresting antics – but insists the prolific marksman is smart enough not to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Derek Riordan and Garry O’Connor.
Wearing only his underpants and a headband, the highly-rated 21-goal striker became an internet sensation on Tuesday after posting footage of his light-hearted grapple with Scots wresting star Grado in the canteen of the club’s training ground.
Former Celtic boss Lennon is a huge fan of Cummings’ playful personality and an even bigger admirer of his talent on the pitch.
Cummings is certain to be the next Hibs player to earn a big money move but unlike former Lokomotiv Moscow forward O’Connor and one-time Celtic striker Riordan, Lennon believes the Scotland Under-21 cap has the drive to play at the top level for most of his career.
Lennon, who will look to Cummings to spearhead the Championship winners’ attack against Aberdeen in tomorrow’s Scottish Cup semi-final, said: “There’s been a few but I don’t want him going down the road of O’Connor or Riordan.
“I want him to look at Scott Brown, Steven Whittaker and the Kevin Thomsons of this world and have a career at a prolonged level.
“Through all the bluster he’s actually quite a down to earth, smart boy.
“And I think he knows what he wants out of his career so I hope he stays on the right track.
“Listen he’s a good pro. He doesn’t miss training, he trains every day. He doesn’t skip out of anything, he never pulls a sickie.
“He comes in every day and he wants to work, he wants to get better.
“He knows he’s got something, and he’s quite cold, he sees the white in the goalkeeper’s eyes and nine times out of ten he scores.
“So there is intelligence in there somewhere.
“I dropped him at one stage and we played really well and scored lots of goals.
“And I think he was sitting on the outside looking in, thinking: ‘I don’t want to be sat here’.
“He just went on a really good run of scoring consistently. And he has scored in some really big games, he’s scored really important goals.
“So he has been priceless to us in how we have gone about things this year.”
Lennon saw the funny side to Cummings’ training ground stunt, even though the player had been receiving treatment for a back injury.
He added: “It’s absolutely brilliant, Grado was up doing some filming for charity and Jason was actually getting treatment for his back.
“I think it epitomises Jason, there’s not enough personalities in the game and he’s all personality.
“It’s all harmless with him, allied to that he’s a good footballer as well and I would not change anything about him.
“I think the fact it became so popular, you realise the sense of humour that he has.
“The lads love him and we’ve got a good squad, a good spirit and we’ll need all of that on Saturday.”
Lennon, meanwhile, insists his side are in no rush to relinquish their hold on the Scottish Cup when they face the high-flying Dons at Hampden.
He added: “We don’t just have determination, but I think being the holders has given them a great belief.
“Our cup performances this year have been outstanding, Bonnyrigg was a banana skin but they coped brilliantly with that and then the two games against Hearts, the intensity and the concentration levels in those two games were brilliant.
“It was another tricky tie against Ayr, which they dealt with very well.
“Now we have one of the best teams in the country with the one of the best managers in Derek McInnes. They’re playing really well and winning a lot of games but it’s a semi-final and we’re going into the game thinking we can win it.”