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Celtic have taken handbrake off, says Lennon

Neil Lennon believes Celtic are starting to play with the freedom he is looking for as he prepares for the trip to Edinburgh to face Hibernian on Sunday.

The Northern Irish boss left Hibs in January and was handed the Hoops job until the end of the season the following month after Brendan Rodgers suddenly left for Leicester.

Last week’s comprehensive 3-0 William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final win over Aberdeen at Hampden Park made it eight games unbeaten since the former Celtic captain took over for a second time at the Parkhead club, who are on the cusp of an unprecedented domestic triple treble.

Rangers’ 3-1 win over Hearts at Tynecastle on Saturday lunchtime took them eight points behind their Old Firm rivals at the top of the table but Lennon is pleased with the progress his side have made and is looking to continue it at Easter Road to take another step towards the title.

He said: “I’m looking forward to it. Hibs are in great form and they are buoyed by a deserved win at Tynecastle.

“It’s been quite a while coming so I’m delighted for the Hibs public.

“But we are coming into the game knowing what our motivation is and that is to win and try to win well off the back of a very convincing semi-final performance last week.

“Psychologically the boys are in a good place and we need to maintain it. It takes time and it took time for me to get to know the players and vice versa.

“We are starting to see signs of improvement and the freedom in the way I want them to play.

“It was a pressure game last Sunday and the players negotiated it brilliantly, so I’m looking for more this Sunday.”

Lennon admits he is more relaxed about the role than he was when he first took over from Rodgers.

He said: “I am enjoying it a little bit more now. The first few weeks were tumultuous and very high pressure and I was under a lot of scrutiny.

“You are getting judged for everything you do. But I am older and more experienced in dealing with that so I am enjoying it more now.”