Neil Lennon is determined to lead a strong defence of Hibernian’s status as William Hill Scottish Cup holders after being taken aback by the magnitude of the club’s long-awaited triumph.
Lennon took over a club basking in the glory of a first Scottish Cup success for 114 years last summer and he aims to continue the feelgood factor.
The 45-year-old won six Scottish Cups as a player and manager of Celtic but the trophy has not been such a frequent visitor to Leith.
The Hibs head coach, whose side play Bonnyrigg Rose in the fourth round on Saturday, said: “The incentive is to defend the trophy. It meant so much to so many people, it certainly meant a lot to the people at the club and the supporters and it’s important, once you get a taste of winning a trophy, you want more.
“As an outsider coming in, the significance of the win really surprised me, how much it meant to so many people. There was a huge taboo and the feelgood factor was great coming into the club and it’s still carrying on.
“The club had won the League Cup in the mid-noughties under John (Collins) but the Scottish Cup was the big one that they craved, and Alan (Stubbs) and the players delivered. That’s it broken and I’m the first Hibs manager for a long, long time defending the Scottish Cup so that’s a good feeling.”
But Lennon admits his side are in a “no-win situation” ahead of the Tynecastle clash with the McBookie.com East Super League side.
“It’s a huge day for Bonnyrigg, the fans and the players,” he said. “I have seen some giant-killings this week in the English (FA) Cup and I don’t want to be on the end of one myself, so we will pay them a lot of respect. They have plenty of experience, physically they are a big side and they have no fear, so that’s a dangerous opponent to play against.”
There have been no further developments on Lennon’s bid to re-sign Celtic midfielder Kris Commons as he waits for movement.
“I’m sure there are going to be many suitors for Kris but we are definitely one of them,” he said.