Neil Lennon lauds victory over Aberdeen as ‘best performance so far’

Neil Lennon celebrates as a despondent Derek McInnes watches on. Picture: SNS
Neil Lennon celebrates as a despondent Derek McInnes watches on. Picture: SNS
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Neil Lennon say his men thrust themselves back into contention for a top-two finish in the league and hailed the victory over Aberdeen as the “performance of the season from us”.

Adding it to the recent away win over Rangers, he has seen the gap on the team above them close. “I’m delighted. I thought Ibrox was good but you’ve got to put into context the opposition and the form they’ve been in. Aberdeen are an excellent side.

“I thought we were outstanding. We thoroughly deserved the win, I didn’t see it coming.

“I thought we were decent at half time, we played pretty well first half but Aberdeen are a tough nut to crack. The first goal is vital against them and thankfully we got that, after that we were excellent, playing some superb football and thoroughly deserved to win.”

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes acknowledged that Hibs deserved their victory.

“I can sit and say what I want – but the truth is they murdered us in the second half, absolutely murdered us,” conceded the Dons boss. “They were the better team, hands-down.

“Neil will say that was their best performance of the season and, as the opposition manager, it’s not always about my team playing poorly, but they were miles better than us in the second half. Their better players had a bigger influence on the game and we did not react the way I would expect when the second goal went in. There was plenty of effort, but not enough responsibility taken.”

While Hibernian had the luxury of welcoming back influential captain Paul Hanlon, Aberdeen were without their leader, Graeme Shinnie, who was serving the first of his two-game ban. Facing a team boasting a quality midfield, it was a factor in their downfall as Manchester City loanee Chidi Nwakali proved an inferior replacement.

“Not out-thought, but outfought, certainly,” added McInnes. “We missed our captain today. Shinnie normally turns the ball over for us and gets us going and gives us that impetus and I don’t think we won anywhere near enough tackles.

“Hibs had a good day today, similar to when we won 4-1 at Pittodrie, and we were hands down the better team and saying it was our best performance of the season and Neil was saying it was their worst. That was revenge for Hibs.”