Hibs boss Neil Lennon stands by stinging criticism of his players



Hibs boss Neil Lennon insists he will continue to slaughter his team in public if they let their standards drop – because the supporters will see right through him otherwise.

The former Celtic manager let rip on Saturday after Motherwell came from two goals down to rescue a point.

As well as questioning his side’s mental toughness, Lennon pointed the finger of blame at goalkeeper Ofir Marciano and branded the concession of the two goals as ‘pathetic’ and ‘embarrassing’.

Taskmaster Lennon, who is looking for a reaction in tonight’s Betfred Cup quarter-final visit of Championship side Livingston, tore into his players on several occasions last season and admits he will not rein in his criticism.

He said: “There’s no point me sugar coating it in the press because the Hibs public won’t have it. And they know me better than that by now.

“It’s public – it’s already out there. I’m only telling them what I am seeing – individual errors from players. 

“It’s basics and I found it unacceptable. The players understand that. 

“On Saturday, it was mistake after mistake after mistake. We didn’t manage the game as well as we should have with the quality and experience we have here.

“We dealt with it on Sunday and it’s done now. I was critical of the players because the last half hour was not good enough. 

“I don’t know where it comes from. We seem to be going in the right direction and playing well but then – bang – a malaise sets in and we can’t lift ourselves out of it. 

“It’s something we have analysed. I don’t want to see it happen again but if it does I want the players to be able to manage it better. 

“I didn’t have them in on a day off. Even if we had won 5-0 they would still have been in because we’ve got the game on Tuesday.

“But it’s important to remember we didn’t lose. We’ve only lost one game this season. But there are things that I am not happy about – and the players know it.”

After assembling a squad full of experience, Saturday’s second half capitulation took Lennon by shock.

He added: “It surprised me, that’s why I was angry because I didn’t see it coming. I shouldn’t get surprised in football although I was very annoyed by it.

“Maybe the expectation is high but this is a big club and when you’re at a big club you have to live up to the expectations of the supporters, whether they’re realistic or not.

“If you look at the team on Saturday, you’ve got Anthony Stokes, you’ve got Steven Whittaker, you’ve got Efe Ambrose – who have all won the title three or four times and played in Europe, the Champions League, have actually played in a UEFA Cup final. 

“Then I’ve got a goalkeeper who has played at international level, I’ve got players who have won the Scottish Cup. 

“I’ve got experienced players in that team and I want them to them to deal with 15 minutes of pressure from the opposition better than what we did because we made mistake after mistake.”