Neil Lennon praises Hibs' handling of Tynecastle pitch

Neil Lennon has welcomed the opportunity to knock Hearts out of the Scottish Cup at Easter Road, praising his Hibs players for showing their 'pedigree' on such a poor pitch at the home of their fiercest rivals.

Hibs manager Neil Lennon was happy with his team's performance at Tynecastle. Picture: PA.

While Lennon has himself criticised the surface at 
Easter Road, it is in better condition than the one at Tynecastle, which again cut up 
badly yesterday. The focus now switches to the east end of the capital on Wednesday 22 February, when both sides will compete for the right to face either Ayr United or Clyde next month.

It is almost inconceivable that the replay can be as low quality as yesterday’s clash, which finished 0-0 and was low on scoring opportunities. But Lennon stressed there were contributing factors for this, specifically the rutted surface.

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“It was impossible to play any kind of cohesive football on the pitch,” said Lennon. “So we had to play the pitch the right way and we did. We were strong defensively. We could have taken care of the ball a little bit better in the final third but I thought we were excellent. I am very, very pleased.

“There’s nothing between the teams and we showed our pedigree today on a big occasion. The mentality of the team was very good. Both teams had chances

so on reflection a draw was probably a fair result but I am delighted with the way we went about our

business.”

Cathro accepted that the Tynecastle pitch impacted on the quality of the game. But he didn’t wish to make it an issue. “It’s difficult,” he said. “But it is our pitch and it’s not something we want to focus too much on. No matter the conditions you always have to manage them, that’s part of your decision-making. So we won’t make that a talking point.”

Lennon dismissed the idea his side are now favourites. “I am very pleased with my team and to come here and play like that against a Hearts side who were rampant in their previous two games says a lot about our team,” he said.

“There is nothing between the teams and now we are taking them to Easter Road and it is not a distance to travel or anything like that.

“We might have a slight advantage because we are at home. But you would have to ask the bookies if we are the favourites for the replay.

“Hearts are a team that are fourth in the Premiership and we are in the Championship.

“But I was very impressed with what I saw from my boys.”