Skip to main content

It was like going back in time, says Lennon as two familiar faces sink Hibs

Interim manager Neil Lennon believes two “Celtic greats” scored the goals in their 2-0 William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final win over former club Hibernian at Easter Road.

The Northern Irishman was boss at Parkhead between 2010 and 2014 and, after leaving Hibs in January, was put in charge at Celtic until the end of the season following the departure of Brendan Rodgers to Leicester on Tuesday.

He watched his charges reach the semi-final with stunning strikes from winger James Forrest and skipper Scott Brown, both of whom played under him during his first spell as Celtic manager.

A “delighted” Lennon said: “Forrest and Brown, it was like going back in time to 2010, they were with me at that time.

“Nine years later, they are still outstanding footballers and for me they are two Celtic greats, still writing plenty of chapters for what time they have got left here.

“I wanted to get James into a more central position, as we weren’t affecting between the lines enough, and we did that about 10 minutes before half-time and (assistant) John (Kennedy) tweaked things at half-time and the second half was magnificent.

“I got everything I wanted. Outstanding, outstanding performance from the team. We had total control.

“Brilliant mentality. Very difficult week for them all, physically and mentally, so for them to go out and play the way they did, especially the second half, speaks volume for this group of players.”

Lennon admitted waiting for the 5.15pm kick-off on his return to Easter Road made for a long day.

He said: “My stomach was churning. I had to go for a walk and get some fresh air. It was very difficult.

“It is not about me. I was hoping we would win. At half-time I was thinking anything could happen in the second half, but the performance second half was brilliant, I haven’t seen them play like that in a long time against Hibs, especially here.”

Heckingbottom suffered his first defeat in four games at Hibs and said: “I’m disappointed to be out the cup.

“Celtic were the better team, although we had some real good moments and a strong performance for an hour.

“But we didn’t have enough quality to really hurt them.

“We are out so the focus is back on the league and we need to be picking up more positive results between now and the end of the season, because with the hard work the guys have done, they have already done, they have put themselves in a good position.”