Hibs head coach Neil Lennon has described December’s gruelling eight-game fixture schedule as ‘crazy’ – especially as the Leith side only have five matches before then.
Lennon is unhappy with how the his team’s league encounters having fallen before the turn of the year and admits he may even have to arrange a bounce game in the coming weeks to keep his players match fit.
Hibs began October with a thrashing of Hamilton and end with it challenging away trips to Celtic and city rivals Hearts in a month that is disrupted by an international break and the Betfred Cup semi-finals.
The festive period’s schedule has been made even busier with the initial October 28 visit of Rangers now arranged for December 19 and Lennon has hit out at the demands placed on his players.
Lennon, whose team are two points adrift of league leaders Hearts, said: “It’s crazy and it’s all about planning ahead if we can.
“My only concern at the minute is the fixture list. We have a big gap, five games until December; we have two for the rest of this month and three in November, and all of a sudden you have eight in the space of four weeks – it’s a big ask.
“I don’t know why it has worked out that way but we have to adjust to that accordingly with the free week for the internationals and a free week for the (Betfred Cup) semi-final.
“It’s going to be difficult going into those games and then having a huge volume of games within a short space of time.
“We had the same run of games last year and it does take it’s toll on the squad and the players, mentally and physically, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
“We’ll probably arrange a bounce game somewhere a long just to keep them up to speed.
“Some guys will go away with international teams but maybe not play so they are sitting in hotels, training and that can be sort of wearing as well.”
Pain in the neck
Lennon also believes three international breaks in three successive month is excessive.
He added: “The international breaks are a pain in the neck for me, there’s too many.
“We had one a few weeks ago and now we’ve got another, and it disrupts you.
“Sometimes you’re dying for an international break because of the volume of games but we’re only eight games into the season and we have to adhere to the fixtures.”
Lennon, however, is pleased his side head into matches against Celtic and Hearts on the back of a four-game winning run in the league.
He added: “We’ve got two very tough fixtures when we come back, Celtic and Hearts away.
“So it was important that we built up a bundle of points going into those games.
“By the time we play Celtic, the Hamilton game will be a distant memory and we’ll have had some work on the training ground.”