NEIL LENNON admits his return to Celtic will be emotional this weekend – but only for 30 seconds.
The Hibs boss accepts his first time back at Parkhead in charge of another team will be a special occasion for him on a personal level.
The 46-year-old spent four years as Hoops manager and seven years as player and captain of his boyhood heroes.
The Northern Irishman is certain to get a rousing reception from the home fans after his lengthy dedication to the club and success both on the pitch and in the dugout.
But he has vowed to keep his emotions in check and concentrate on the job of trying to end Celtic’s incredible 57-game unbeaten run.
He said: “Celtic were good on Saturday, they just seem to be finding their groove, and mentally and physically they look a very good side.
“They’ve got a good mentality about them and it’s going to be a difficult afternoon for us, we know that, but not insurmountable.
“I might lose a few friends if [Hibs win]!
“But I’ve got to be professional. Hibs are my club now and it will be emotional – for all of 30 seconds and then it’s down to work.”
He added to Hibs TV: “I’m looking forward to it and we’ve got them in the [Betfred Cup] semi-final as well, so there’s plenty of big games coming up to savour.”
Hibs won for the first time in five league games with their 1-0 victory against Ross County on Saturday, and they also kept their first clean sheet since returning to the Premiership.
Lennon knows they will have to be more clinical – at both ends – than they have been in recent weeks but is desperate for his team to put on a good show at his old stomping ground.
He said: ”The good thing is there is no pressure on us when we go to Celtic Park, but I want us to go there and make sure we compete.
“We want to perform the best we can in that game and you never know, as there is good attacking intent in the team.
“But we are playing the champions, so it is going to be very difficult.”