Wanted by Neil Lennon, on-loan Reading striker Marc McNulty ready to down Celtic boss as Hibs bid for Scottish Cup shock

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MARC McNULTY originally thought he would be working under Neil Lennon – now the Hibs striker is desperate to work against him and make it a nightmare return to Easter Road for the interim Celtic boss.

Hibs’ recruitment department had targeted McNulty long before Lennon’s mysterious exit from the club but his arrival on loan from Reading coincided with the hunt for the Northern Irishman’s replacement.

The 26-year-old is now delighted to be learning from Lennon’s replacement, Paul Heckingbottom, and – after six goals in his last two games – he would love another moment to cherish in Saturday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final against the champions.

Asked how important Tuesday’s 2-1 win away to St Johnstone was, McNulty said: “Massively. Obviously, the last couple of weeks we started off with bad results against Aberdeen and Celtic.

“The new manager came in and it was good to kick off with a win and a bit of momentum each game.

“We are taking it game by game. The weekend is away from the league but it’s a massive game for everyone, and we’re looking forward to it.

“Neil obviously wanted me in but there were people working behind the scenes.

“Hibs have a recruitment team who do a good job getting players in and I have said that in the last couple of windows these kind of people have been trying to get me in.

“For whatever reason, it hasn’t happened but I have to thank them. Neil left and they were the ones that kept at it so I am grateful for that.

“It’s great to hear that Neil talked about me being a great acquisition for Hibs, especially it coming from someone like Neil.

“It would have been great to work under him but football is a funny game and things change very quickly. He’s at Celtic now, we play them at the weekend and we’re looking forward to it.

“It would be nice to get the winning goal now – fingers crossed that happens.”

CONFIDENCE

After netting 28 times last season, McNulty secured a big-money move to Reading in the summer but failed to make the impact he wanted at the start of this season.

Afforded just four league starts, he was glad to return north of the border in search of more game-time and admits he is brimming with belief after back-to-back doubles against Dundee and Saints.

He added: “As a football player you just want to play football. That wasn’t the case for me in the first half of the season, which was disappointing, but that’s life, these things happen.

“For me it was a case of coming up here, getting the head down and enjoying playing football again.

“I’ve scored a couple now so my confidence is high. The more games and goals you score, you take more confidence from it and look forward to the next game. That’s where I am at and I’m just grateful for the manager playing me.

“As a striker, when you are scoring goals, you feel on top of the world and looking forward to the next game, which is where I am now.”

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