Neil Lennon delighted by Anthony Stokes-Simon Murray link-up

Neil Lennon praised the contribution of Anthony Stokes and Simon Murray as Hibernian warmed up in style for Saturday's trip to Rangers with a 5-0 win over Ayr United in the last 16 of the Betfred Cup at Easter Road.

Simon Murray, right, celebrates Hibs' second goal with Anthony Stokes. Picture: Roddy Scott/SNS
Simon Murray, right, celebrates Hibs' second goal with Anthony Stokes. Picture: Roddy Scott/SNS

Two goals from Stokes, the first of his third spell at the club, and strikes from Murray, Efe Ambrose and Deivydas Matulevicius sealed Hibs’ place in the quarter-finals.

Lennon said: “There was a real zest about us tonight and some players got important game time.”

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The Easter Road boss hailed the early signs of a productive partnership between Stokes and Murray, who scored his ninth goal of the season last night.

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon. Picture: Roddy Scott/SNS

“They dovetailed quite quickly,” said Lennon. “Stokes showed some great touches considering that is his first run out for some time.”

Lennon admitted he faces tough choices ahead of the Ibrox clash. He said: “Some players still need to get up to speed. I have not got a clear idea of who I am going to play yet. But I am delighted with the depth of the squad. I have not been to Ibrox for a few years so I am looking forward to it.”

Ayr manager Ian McCall lamented an arduous start to the season for his previously in-form side, for whom last night was their seventh game in 26 days. “It is a game too far – we could have done without it at this stage of the season,” he said.

Ayr had to play the last 15 minutes with ten men due to an injury to Andy Geggan. They had already used their three substitutes.

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon. Picture: Roddy Scott/SNS