Hibs number two insists Neil Lennon won’t quit – and clarifies his absence from training centre


Hibs assistant manager Garry Parker insists head coach Neil Lennon will not quit the club, and insists his no-show at the club’s training ground yesterday was down to him having the flu.

Former Celtic manager Lennon said he would consider his position in the wake of a crushing 2-1 defeat to Hearts on Wednesday evening that dashed the Leith side’s hopes of finishing second in the Premiership.

The Hibs boss also laid into his players for what he described as an ‘amateur’ and ‘unprofessional’ performance against their fierce Edinburgh rivals.

Lennon was expected to clarify those comments at a scheduled 12:15pm press conference on Friday afternoon but club officials were forced to admit to the media that they did not know where the 46-year-old was.

Parker then appeared just after 2pm to explain Lennon’s absence and insisted he would be in the Easter Road dugout next season.

Parker, who expects Lennon to take training today ahead of tomorrow’s final game of the season against Rangers, said: “He’s had flu for the past couple of weeks or so, been coughing and all that.

“So he’s at home, his wife woke him up – and he fell back asleep. And that’s a true story. Honestly.

“I was always taking training today. He said to me yesterday, before he left: ‘You take training tomorrow but I’ll be in later’.

“Obviously I thought he’d be here by now – but he’s not well. He’s entitled to have a rest.”

Lennon met with chief executive Leanne Dempster and head of football operations George Craig on Thursday to discuss his future as head coach and Parker insists the former Celtic captain will not walk out on Hibs.

Asked if he was considering his future, Parker replied: “No. I know he’s not.

“No, no, look. That’s him all over. He does that. We’d just lost to Hearts and he’s raging.

“Yeah I’m used to it. Look, Neil’s Neil. He’s a winner. He says what he says after the game – whether he’s right or wrong.

“It’s just him. Don’t take anything into that. When he comes in on Saturday, we will be ready for the game on Sunday against Rangers.

“As far as I know the meeting went well. I only spoke to him earlier. Obviously we are going to lose players. The budget is between him and the board.”

Parker insists he did not agree with Lennon’s scathing criticism of the players, who are just one point away from setting a new top-flight points record having already accumulated 66, following the Hearts defeat and insists those comments were made in the heat of the moment.

He added: “We just didn’t turn up on the day. How can you say that when we have been brilliant all season?

“All season we have been fantastic. It was one game.

“We went there on Wednesday night, knowing that a draw still gives us a chance, and we just didn’t play.

“That’s just him. That’s how he is. He’s a winner. He just says it in the heat of the moment.”

Asked if he would regret those remarks, Parker added: “He might do. I remember the same situation last year.

“He said the same thing to the players, then he came in the next day, called a meeting between him and the players and he apologised.

“It’s been a great season. We had a meeting in here at the start of the season and asked: ‘where can we finish in the league?’

“One person said we could win it. Some others said we would finish in the top six.

“We were two games away from finishing second. It’s fantastic, one point away from most-ever points.”