Hibs boss Neil Lennon sympathies with Aberdeen fans over 1215pm Hampden start, but insists they’ll use any advantage they can get



Hibs head coach Neil Lennon insists asking Aberdeen fans to make the 150 mile journey to Hampden for a 1215pm kick-off is out of order – but insists his side plan to make the most of having a bigger support.

The Dons have only been able to sell around 12,000 of their 21,000 ticket allocation for today’s televised Scottish Cup semi-final, while Hibs have shifted in excess of 18,000.

Lennon has sympathy for the Aberdeen supporters but as cup holders Hibs, who were crowned Championship title winners last weekend, look to defy the odds and secure their place in another final, the former Celtic manager insists they will use any advantage they can get.

He said: “You are asking them to travel for a 12:15 kick off and I think that is really unfair on the Aberdeen fans.

“It is a showpiece game. It is just location more than anything else, I don’t think it’s indifference to the game.

“If there is any advantage to that then we will take whatever advantage we can get on the pitch, or off the pitch.

“You get a sense of the atmosphere when you’re out there, you don’t really get a feel for it until after the first 5-10 mins of the game.”

Lennon insists going toe-to-toe with Aberdeen will give him an indication of how good his team really is after being crowned champions in the second tier.

He added: “It is an acid test for the players. They will be playing against the team second in the Premiership table, who are well clear of Rangers and that takes a bit of doing.

“They have split the Old Firm and that takes a bit of doing and they have already been to one final this season, so that is impressive.

“I think they have improved year on year under Derek McInnes and they have been really consistent so it is a really good test for us.

“Aberdeen are favourites and their fans will be expecting to get to the final against a Championship team, although we are not a Championship team any more, and we know we are going into the game as underdogs. That will be a novelty for us this year.”

Lennon, meanwhile, insists Aberdeen winger Niall McGinn, a player he let go at Celtic, will pose a serious threat to his side’s chances of progressing to the final.

And Lennon has revealed how he failed in a bid to land the Northern Ireland internationalist when he was in charge at Bolton.

He added: “He’s had a good time at Aberdeen. I actually enquired about him when I was at Bolton.

“Derek wouldn’t have any of it so we left it at that.

“He’s done well for club and country, scored in the Euros and he’s been an important player for (Northern Ireland manager) Michael O’Neill at times.

“It didn’t work out for him at Celtic but he’s gone on to carve out a very good career for himself.

“I think he’s one of Aberdeen’s better players and he’ll be a real threat on Saturday, I’m sure.”