Neil Lennon has set his sights on stopping the Celtic “juggernaut” and believes December with be the acid test for his high-flying Hibs side.
The Easter Road head coach picked up the manager of the month award for October yesterday after guiding the club to three wins in four Premiership outings last month, as well as losing out narrowly in the Betfred Cup semi-final against Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Allied with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Dundee on Saturday – Hibs’ fourth league win in a row – Lennon’s charges are now just two points behind Aberdeen as they seek to mount a challenge to be crowned best-of-the-rest in the Scottish top flight.
Hibs face Rangers, Aberdeen, Hearts and Celtic – against whom they have claimed a draw and suffered a narrow defeat this term – during a mouth-watering festive period and the Northern Irishman has set typically lofty goals for his impressive side.
“What can we do better? Beat Celtic,” Lennon said.
“That would be one of the games you can look at and say ‘can we do it?’ We played well in the two games against Celtic so far this season so that’s an aspiration to have.
“Then we want to be in the bracket of Aberdeen and Rangers because I think those are the next two strongest, after Celtic who are a juggernaut
“There is more to come from Rangers once they get a manager in, as they have a strong squad there, and Aberdeen are really consistent but we want to be at the forefront of that.
“We’re doing OK at the minute. We are in a strong position but December is a huge month for us. We have Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen and Hearts. There are seven games in that month and we’ll see where we are after that. Nothing seems to faze my players right now.”
Picking up the award, Lennon acknowledged he is a content – if not entirely relaxed – man as he laps up life in the capital. He firmly believes Hibs are on an upward trajectory in their first season in the top-flight since relegation via the play-offs in 2014.
“I’m really enjoying it, although you’re never stress-free in this job,” Lennon continued. “I’m enjoying the club, the structure is good and we’re getting good crowds. This has been three years in the making, but we are at the point where we want to move on.
“The whole outlook, the way people view the club now, is really positive.”