Hibs head coach Neil Lennon has hit out at those attacking the club’s decision to bring in Efe Ambrose and Kris Commons on emergency loan deals, telling them to “shut up”.
He says that the Easter Road side are well within their rights to add reinforcements but is far from surprised that the news has been met with a tsunami of abuse on Twitter and online forums.
“I know some people will moan, I know that,” he said, as the club launched their 2017/18 season ticket campaign. “I could moan about other clubs spending too much money, going into debt, administration and stuff like that. But I don’t. I could moan about clubs going out and buying nine players in the January transfer window, but I don’t. We could have done that, but we might have stretched ourselves. This club is run the way we think is the right way.”
Injuries to centre-backs Paul Hanlon, Jordon Forster and now Liam Fontaine have left the Hibs defence threadbare, with midfielder Marvin Bartley forced to play much of Saturday’s match with Dunfermline in the middle of the backline, But, just as Lennon did earlier this season, when several midfielders were ruled out and he brought in Celtic’s Commons, the manager has again turned to his former club, to enlist the help of Ambrose.
That has angered some who see the Championship leaders as comfortable at the top of the table and question their need for “emergency” deals.
Lennon, though, says that it would be foolish not to use the rule that allows any second, third or fourth-tier team to bring in cover in certain circumstances.
Lennon said: “We knew the emergency window was an option. If it was taken away, then we wouldn’t use it. But it is there to be used and we’ve used it. We haven’t broken a single rule or law. If people are unhappy about it, then they can write to the SFA and ask them to scrap the rule.
“It’s an advantage to anyone that wants to use it – so shut up, just shut up.”
Helping launch the www.borneahibee.com season ticket campaign, Chief Executive Leeann Dempster, said she had been made aware that defensive injuries could hinder Hibs’ promotion bid and said it would have been remiss not to make the most of the loan rules.
She said: “It’s my job to make sure I do everything we can to get promoted. It’s the third time of asking and we want to be in the Premiership. The rules in the Championship exist for clubs to take a player on loan from a Premiership club. It’s the same rules for every other club. So I don’t think we are playing the system.”
An emergency loan can be from 28 to 93 days, which will allow Hibs to hold on to Ambrose until the end of the season.