Neil Lennon: Hibs should have beat Hearts by 4 or 5

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On a night where his team trampled over their derby rivals to reach the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup, the only negative aspect for Hibs boss Neil Lennon was that his players didn’t win by a greater margin of victory.

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Hibernian manager Neil Lennon celebrates at full time. Picture: SNS

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon celebrates at full time. Picture: SNS

The hosts dominated the opening 62 minutes of the game and found themselves 3-0 up when Andrew Shinnie added to first-half strikes from Jason Cummings and Grant Holt.

By that point, Hibs had already missed another two or three terrific opportunities, and while Hearts pulled one back through Esmael Goncalves, the visitors had to be thankful the night didn’t get even worse when Darren McGregor’s header was disallowed for offside.

In the end, the 3-1 scoreline flattered Hearts, who failed to win in a derby match for the seventh consecutive game.

Afterwards, Lennon was full of praise for his players, while admitting he would have liked his side to grab a couple more.

He said: “I think it should have been more. We could have had four or five. I couldn’t see Hearts scoring.

“We know how they play. We were ready for it. We counter-attacked very well and got chances. We worked their goalkeeper a lot more than they worked ours.”

A lot of the talk in the build-up to the game centred around Hearts’ style of play and whether the bigger and better Easter Road pitch would suit the team, who’re known for preferring passing football under Ian Cathro.

Hearts striker Esmael Goncalves even went as far as to insist Hibs didn’t play “good football” in an article published on the day of the game.

Hibs, instead of biting back, retained a dignified silence on the matter, and let their actions do the talking for them.

Lennon added: “We showed we were the better team in all departments. I played [the talk] down because I know what I’ve got in there. I’ve got good footballers.

“It’s been hard on them in recent weeks because we’ve been playing on difficult pitches. But I know what we’ve got and I knew we could hurt Hearts. And I knew if our big players turned up tonight then we would beat them.”

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