Neil Lennon: Hibs must cope better with title ‘expectation’

Neil Lennon barks instructions from the dugout. Picture: Greg Macvean
Neil Lennon barks instructions from the dugout. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Neil Lennon has told his Hibernian players they must cope better with the “expectation” of winning the Championship after they missed the chance to return to the top of the division yesterday.

Dundee United grabbed a draw at Easter Road through William Edjenguele after James Keatings had put Hibs ahead. The result keeps Lennon’s team in second place behind Queen of the South.

“It’s frustrating,” said the manager afterwards, “but this has been the story of the last couple of games for us. We were in control of this one and all of a sudden we got slack.

“We want to get out of this division and the players have to deal with the expectation and responsibility better than they’re doing at the moment.

“It’s not a major problem. We’re playing well enough. But our game management has to be better. We were totally comfortable. We had opportunities to go two-nil up. Paul Hanlon had a great chance and that would wrapped up the game and we would have deserved that. We were so far in the ascendancy and it was our fault they got back in.

“Another source of frustration is we’ve conceded from a set-play,” added Lennon, pictured.

“With the height in our team we should be dealing with these situations better.

“Three of our guys were beaten for the equaliser. We get so many corners and don’t convert them. Other teams get one or two and score from them. It’s an area we have to address.”

United manager Ray McKinnon revealed his team had worked on set-plays all week. “It was really pleasing to have that pay off. William scored a great header at a great time,” he said.

“I’m happy with a point. Hibs are a good team and this is a difficult place to come and on top of that we had a lot of injuries with hardly any recognised midfielders so we had to chop and change.

“We had to be dogged. In the first half I thought we wasted our counter-attacks but we were great in the second half and merited a draw.”

McKinnon said he expects the Championship to remain tight and competitive.

“Hibs have been here for two seasons and they know what it’s like,” he said.

“They know every team raises their game against them. So far every team has played out of their skin against us. We’re all finding it difficult.

“It’s a lot harder to be the offensive team than the defensive one. I expect the league to be competitive right to the end.”