Hibs boss Neil Lennon insists he would not be happy about making a third trip to Rangers


Hibs head coach Neil Lennon insists he would be less than impressed if his team were ordered to make a third trip to Ibrox this season.

Rangers could be left in a situation of having played all of their current top half rivals twice at home by the time the split comes around.

And Graeme Murty’s outfit would still be due to host two of their last five fixtures.

Should there be no change among the six leading teams for the post-split schedule, that could see the SPFL forcing the Leith outfit, who are currently five points adrift of second place Rangers having won twice at Ibrox already this season, making a third journey to Govan.

Former Celtic manager Lennon insists that would hand Rangers an unfair advantage and hit the Easter Road side in the pocket.

Lennon, whose team travel to in-form Kilmarnock tomorrow, said: “I wouldn’t be happy about it – I’m not too sure Rangers would be happy about it – me going back there for the third time.

“I think we’ve earned the right to have Rangers at home for the second time. I think that’s part of the reward for getting promoted and getting into the top six.

“I know these anomalies are sometimes thrown up when the top six fixtures are thrown out.

“We wouldn’t have any fear but it wouldn’t be ideal, I would rather play them at home from my own personal point of view at that point of the season.

“It could give teams around us an advantage and certainly it would give Rangers an advantage, which is what we don’t want at that stage of the season.

“It could make a massive difference to all of us. It could be important to Rangers if they’re going for the title, hypothetically speaking. I wonder what other clubs would make of that as well.”

Lennon insists missing out on hosting Rangers in front of a potential capacity Easter Road would also be financially damaging.

He added: “It’s one of these games the club would look for to have a full house, so it would be unfair not to have that.

“It’s one of the games you probably budget for; Celtic, Aberdeen, Hearts, Rangers – the top four teams you would expect to get a huge crowd and I think it would be unfair for us to miss out on that having earned the right to be there.”

Lennon, meanwhile, insists he is relishing the challenge of trying to end Kilmarnock’s remarkable seven-game winning run at Rugby Park against their top six rivals.

Hibs emerged 3-0 winners in Ayrshire last October in what was only manager Steve Clarke’s third game in charge.

Lennon added: “The scoreline did flatter us but they have never looked back since then.

“I think he has certainly given them their pride back.

“The players really are playing for him at the minute.

“After the game, he was pretty pleased, he looked in a good place even then.

“So early on, it looked like he was really enjoying it and that’s obviously been apparent since then. Alex Dyer (assistant manager) needs to take a lot of credit as well. He’s very experienced.”