Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon believes it would be “folly” for anyone to consider themselves realistic pretenders to Celtic’s Premiership crown until the last throes of the league campaign.
Already, Hearts, Hibs and Rangers have been touted as challengers, while Aberdeen, who have finished second for the last four years in a row, are also considered a threat to a Celtic team who have thus far failed to find the form and consistency of recent campaigns.
Today, the Easter Road side travel to Parkhead looking for a performance that will garner them three points as they try to chase down city rivals Hearts at the top of the table and prevent Brendan Rodgers’ men from leapfrogging them.
Tapping into the memories of performing well against the double treble winners in the four league head to heads last term, winning one and drawing two, they will travel in a positive frame of mind. But, regardless the outcome, Lennon will not be buying into any title hype, saying it is far too early to profess such lofty goals.
“Maybe after 30 games,” he said. “We would have to be 30 games into the season and maybe even after then. You are looking at 33 games before the split and, if you are in or about it then with five games to go, then you have to say that you are in with a shout.
“Any time before that is just folly for me.
“We are only eight or nine games into the season, not even a quarter of the way through, and people are talking about title contenders! Sorry, I don’t buy that. We are not buying that. We will continue on as we are. There are loads of things that can happen. There is Craig [Levein, the Hearts boss] this week losing two very important players long term through injury and that is allied to the players he already has out. That takes a toll.
“We are all right at the minute with injuries but over the course of the season it all adds up. I’m not sure we have the experience yet to go the whole way. We had a good season last year and if we can end around that or emulate it or better it then I will be absolutely delighted considering the quality we lost during the summer.”