Neil Lennon proud at Hibs’ title celebration

Hibs boss Neil Lennon, centre, celebrates the club's title-winning victory over Queen of the South. Photograph: Neil Hanna
Hibs boss Neil Lennon, centre, celebrates the club's title-winning victory over Queen of the South. Photograph: Neil Hanna
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Success is what Neil Lennon lives for. In recent weeks the task of guiding Hibernian back to the top flight has looked anything but fun for the man who joined in the summer and immediately stated his intentions.

He has always seen this club and this squad as Premiership standard but it was up to him to get them there and that remit has weighed heavily on his shoulders.

Which is why, as players danced round the turf, enjoying their lap of honour, the job finally complete, he stood at the tunnel beaming with pride, and savouring the moment.

“It was relief and pride,” he said. “The celebrations are for the players. I have had plenty in my time and I enjoyed them all, but as a manager you let them get on with it. They are the ones out there doing all the hard work.

“I’m not going to lie and say that the play-offs would have been good enough, they wouldn’t have been good enough for me anyway. Getting out this division was tough but we have done it with a few games to spare and our consistency was really good.”

His men have suffered just three defeats to tarnish their record but while many made them favourites from day one Lennon said he only really felt any degree of certainty when they beat Dundee United, in January, to provide a substantial gap at the top of the table.

“It was the manner of the performance that day,” he said. “There was real intensity and steel about the team and Jason Cummings did what he does and scored the goal and I thought, ‘yeah, it is going to take a good team to stop us now’. Under the pressure the players were under, I thought, ‘we’ve got this’.

“It feels brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I’m really proud of the players and the club because you could feel the burden of being in the league for the third season. There was a weight but now it is lifted. We have worked really hard and I want to pay tribute to the likes of George Craig and Leeann Dempster and the chairman. They have made my job a lot easier. They can be as happy as I am. I am very proud of this accomplishment, personally. It means alot to me and I’m really proud of the way the players have handled themselves over the season.

“I enjoyed the performance, I was pleased with that and the goals and I knew when the cheer went up that Falkirk were losing and I was thinking it would be difficult for them to get two more and a draw wouldn’t have been enough. So I did enjoy the last 10-15 minutes, which was a novelty for me this season.”