Neil Lennon: Break cleared injuries, has it affected form?

Neil Lennon hopes Hibs can carry on from where they left off before the international break by beating '¨St Johnstone today to win five top-flight matches on the bounce for the first time in almost six years.

Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon. Picture:
Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon. Picture:

The Easter Road boss, pictured, believes the two weeks of inactivity came at exactly the right time with injuries having left him with just 15 fit players following the defeat of Dundee – but worries the momentum which has taken his team to third place in the Premiership may be broken.

Lennon will 
have club skipper David Gray, Dylan McGeouch and Brandon Barker – all hurt before half-time against Dundee – available for the visit of Saints, while a late decision will be made on Steven Whittaker, who missed the last two games with a back injury.

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“In terms of injuries the break came at the right time because the squad was decimated,” said Lennon who has defenders Darren McGregor and Liam Fontaine out on a long-term basis, “But in terms of form and the way we were playing that’s a different matter.

“I don’t know how this break will have affected the momentum. In terms of form, we didn’t want the break to come. We’ve been in very good form and we want to maintain that, particularly going into December where it’s a very heavy month for us.”

While Hibs are riding the crest of a wave at the moment, Tommy Wright’s St Johnstone have gone 546 minutes without a goal since Murray Davidson’s late winner against Hamilton at the end of September, but Lennon feels the break may also have been timely for the McDiarmid Park side who have Davidson and Michael O’Halloran fit again.

Citing how his own team’s results suddenly turned round, he said: “They weren’t on a great run but maybe the little break away from the spotlight will have done them good. They’re a dangerous team and have been very consistent over the last three or four seasons.

“Tommy [Wright] has been in this position before where they have maybe not won for five or six games and then, all of a sudden, they get a run of three or four wins in a row. St Johnstone are very capable of doing that, I’m very wary of them.”

Having said that, Lennon admitted he couldn’t be happier with his own players’ performances in recent weeks saying: “We’d been playing well and not getting the results. Then, bang, we go four in a row and find 
ourselves in third place.

“I’m not getting carried away with that but it’s not just the results I’ve been pleased with, the all-round performance and football has been very pleasing.”