NEIL LENNON insists Hibs’ opening-day victory over Partick Thistle is ‘just the start’ after the Easter Road side impressed on their top-flight comeback.
After three agonising years in the Championship, the capital outfit returned with a bang as they roared back from the loss of an early goal to see off their visitors 3-1.
Thistle, who finished sixth in the Premiership last season, took the lead after just six minutes with an excellent Chris Erskine strike.
— Capital City Press (@CCP_sport) August 5, 2017
But Martin Boyle’s quick-fire equaliser and a rare Steven Whittaker goal eased Lennon’s men into a half-time lead.
And Simon Murray, who later saw a close-range shot tipped onto the post by Tomas Cerny, added a third from the spot early in the second-half after Boyle was tripped in the box by Callum Booth.
Lennon was full of praise for his newly-promoted side, who watched chairman Rod Petrie unfurl the Championship flag before kick.
But, with Tuesday’s Betfred Cup tie against Ayr United and the trip to face Rangers at Ibrox to follow next Saturday, the former Celtic manager is fully aware his team have stiffer tests ahead.
Referring to old Celtic boss, Martin O’Neill, he said: “As my old manager used to say, we were astonishingly brilliant.
“We got off to a really poor start. You can get like that, a little bit drowsy with the atmosphere and all the pomp beforehand.
“But the reaction from the team was fantastic.
“I thought we dominated the game, in terms of goal attempts, our passing was good, our physical attributes were good, our physical fitness was good, and we’ve beaten a very good team.
‘BIG CLUB AGAIN’
“I’ve got to be thrilled with that.
“The fans here have been amazing, since I’ve walked in the door. We are now looking like a big club again.
“To have a big crowd in the building and to go home with the three points, with a great performance, it’s all good.
“But it’s just the start. We’ve got big games coming up in midweek and, obviously, next weekend, but I can’t ask for any more than what I’m seeing from the players at the moment.”
Lennon hailed sponsors’ man of the match Murray for his all-action display and was pleased with his high-profile players.
He added: “Simon was superb. His first touch, his willingness to close people down, to take the penalty and score it – that will give him a real shot of confidence.
“Whittaker was brilliant, [Efe] Ambrose, [John] McGinn, the big players turned up.
“Again, I’m really pleased with that.”