Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon has banned his players from using mobile phones at the club’s training ground and revealed that any member of his squad caught using his device at training will be fined a week’s wages.
In his first day in the job after succeeding Alan Stubbs in June, Lennon laid down the law to the squad, and the former Celtic manager made it clear that their devices had to be stored in their cars.
Lennon feels phones, and particularly social media, can be an unwanted distraction to players at their place of work, and is also concerned that the younger generation are lacking basic communication skills.
The 45-year-old wants his team’s undivided attention to be on winning the Ladbrokes Championship and his approach has paid off so far.
The Leith outfit will set a new club record on Saturday if they collect their sixth straight win of the season at home to Ayr United.
“They are here at the training ground with their teammates, who are their pals and they should be communicating with each other,” said Lennon.
“Mobile phones are left in the cars.
“They are fined a week’s wages if they are caught using their mobile phones or are on social media.
“The last thing I want to see is somebody using a phone or a laptop.
“There are too many players who have no social skills any more because they have been brought up in the social media environment and era.
“It is my own observations and we did not have that when we were playing, as football was your focus.
“Any issues they have away from the club are left in the cars. I don’t want any outside influences annoying them.
“The only influence is me. This is where they come and play football – they are footballers after all.”
A strong character as a player and manager at Celtic, Lennon had no qualms about setting out his stall to the players.
“I don’t care what the players say – it is my rules, my house, my ball,” smiled Lennon.
“They have to accept that. Is it a major thing? I don’t think so.
“For some it may have been a case of cold turkey for a couple of weeks.
“When they go out of the gate they can do what they like.
“They are not allowed to tweet things regarding the club, obviously.
“I can’t stop them from doing things they want to do as I don’t rule their life for them.
“In terms of football and the social aspect of things, I can control what goes on in here and I think that works.”
Lennon, who is still running the rule over former Birmingham City right-back Neal Eardley, insists he is not a taskmaster, despite admitting he is always on top of the players on the training ground to ensure that complacency does not set in following a flawless league start.
He said: “I am very grumpy. I have a laugh and a joke with them but there is a time and a place for it.
“The training ground is their place of work and the rest of the place is their environment.
“I don’t want them worrying about coming into work, I want them to come in with a smile on their face.
“I am not a massive disciplinarian but they have standards that I want them to maintain.
“They have to retain their focus. They can manage themselves on the pitch but I don’t think they’re good enough to be complacent.”