Neil Lennon hails Hibs players’ character in dealing with adversity

Neil Lennon wanted to add steel to his squad. Picture: Neil Hanna.
Neil Lennon wanted to add steel to his squad. Picture: Neil Hanna.
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Neil Lennon has praised Hibernian’s “temperament” and “steeliness” as they prepare for Friday’s Edinburgh derby clash with bitter rivals Hearts.

The Easter Road outfit host their city foes with a nine-point advantage in the Premiership table and will be seeking the victory that would strengthen their bid for a top-three finish this season.

A win would also rubbish the claims of Hearts head coach Craig Levein that “natural order” had been restored in the capital in the wake of his side’s dramatic 1-0 Scottish Cup triumph at Tynecastle in January.

In both that tie and the previous league fixture in December, which finished goalless, good football was at a premium as the players fought for city supremacy. However, Lennon, who previously criticised Hibs for suffering from a “boy-band mentality” in the past, believes his players have shown this season they can cope with 
whatever they encounter 
during games.

He said: “I’m very, very pleased with the temperament of the squad and the character they’ve shown this season.

“I think in a lot of games we’ve been a goal down or we’ve conceded the first goal, and bounced back to either get something out of the game or go on to win it.

“I think that speaks volumes for the character and personality we have within the group.

“[When I came to the club] I was just trying to find that steeliness, and I think there’s plenty of it in there now.

“We’re certainly able to scrap out games very, very well, which may have been a criticism of us before.

“That’s not something I’ve brought. You pass on your own experiences, but I think the players have taken it on very, very well.”