Neil Lennon admits he’s like a ‘worried father’ as he awaits safe return of Hibs’ international players

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NEIL LENNON has revealed he will assume the role of ‘worried father’ as he waits for the safe return of Hibs’ international players.

The Easter Road outfit have six players away with their countries this week – with up to four ready for action in Scotland’s clash with Lithuania on Friday.

Midfielder John McGinn and full-back Steven Whittaker are in Gordon Strachan’s squad, whilst summer signings Vykintas Slivka and Deivydas Matulevicius have been called up by the hosts.

With teenagers Fraser Murray and Ryan Porteous, who have made nine first-team appearances between them so far this season, also away with Scotland under-19s, Lennon has confessed to concerns over his players’ fitness.

However, despite his worries, the former Celtic manager insists he is thrilled for the players that their performances are being recognised at international level.

He said: “I had it ad nauseam at Celtic – sometimes the place was empty in an international week.

“You do you sit there like a worried father, waiting for the phone to ring, hoping there’s no serious injury.

“But you want them to go and play for their country, you want them to go and succeed.

“Again, like anything else in football, there are great experiences and low experiences, but these guys have worked all their careers to be in the position to be picked for their country and I think it’s great they do go and represent their country every chance they get.”

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Lennon has revealed he had a chat with Strachan ahead of Whittaker’s return to the squad for the Lithuania and Malta double-header.

And the Northern Irishman has confessed he is looking forward to the possibility of Slivka and Matulevicius playing against Scotland in Friday’s World Cup qualifier.

He added: “It’s fantastic for the players.

“I spoke to Gordon about Steven and we both admire him as a player. The only reason he probably wasn’t called up before was he was not playing on a regular basis – now he is.

“Gordon is a fan of his and it’s great recognition for him.

“The two Lithuanian boys are probably on the cusp of starting and it will be interesting to see the Scotland v Lithuania game and see how that dynamic works.

“Again it’s very good for the profile of the club.”

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