Neil Lennon slams “pathetic” Hibs performance

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon slammed his players. Pic: SNS/Bill Murray
Hibernian manager Neil Lennon slammed his players. Pic: SNS/Bill Murray
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Neil Lennon brandished his team’s performance “pathetic” despite a valiant effort to come back from losing two goals in the opening half an hour.

The despondent Hibs boss accused his players of giving away three goals and they would regret the first 30 minutes.

Aberdeen netted after 12 seconds through Adam Rooney following a defensive mistake before another error allowed Ryan Christie to double the Dons’ lead.

“Rubbish. Pathetic,” Lennon responded in an interview with Sky Sports when asked what he thought of his team’s performance.

“We’ve given three goals way, you can’t do that in a semi-final. We got back to 2-2 playing the football I expect of them. I don’t go for the gallant loser story, it doesn’t wash for me; not good enough.

“They (Aberdeen) got a huge slice of luck with the third goal, I can accept that. But the first two goals were unacceptable at any level.”

He added: “I have got plenty of character in there, where they showed it; they came back to 2-2 and looked like we were in a strong position but anything can happen.

“But you can’t give two-goal head starts to any team even though I though we were better, scored better goals. But it took us an age to get going.”

A first-half substitute, with Grant Holt coming on, saw Hibs gain a foothold. Holt scored the goal which got the capital side back into the game. Dylan McGeouch scored an excellent goal to equalise 15 minutes after half-time.

“The substitution changed things,” Lennon said. “We were in control, score two brilliant goals. The second one is a brilliant individual goal. McGeouch has got that.

“Delighted to see him score. He’s got plenty of talent, he hasn’t shown it enough. He’s a big game player and he’s shown in today.

“Unfortunately it has been the story of Dylan’s career, he had to come off with an injury which is a blow because we were in the ascendancy and we missed him when he went off.”

But Lennon was left to rue his players’ approach to the game.

“People will talk about tactics but you can’t legislate for a centre-half playing a square-ball to a centre-forward and you can’t legislate for breaking the wall and letting a free-kick come in at the near post,” he said.

“So tactically, it goes out the window, it’s decision making.

“They need to look at themselves. It’s a semi-final, you’ve got to play for 90 minutes or 120 minutes not 60.

“They’ll regret it, they were the better team for long periods. I’m not here to pamper them, to say well done after that, it’s no good.

It may sound a bit harsh but I expect better from some players. Some of them will regret that first 30 minutes.

“Even at the end, we’ve had chances. (Martin) Boyle’s in, go down, it’s a penalty; Jason should have got onto a long ball; my goalkeeper shows them how to head the ball towards the goal.”