09 Mar Lennon draws line under Levein’s ‘natural order’ remark after Hibs beat Hearts
Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon claimed Craig Levein’s comments had come back to haunt him after his side’s 2-0 victory over Hearts at Easter Road.
Levein claimed Hearts had restored “natural order” when they beat Hibs for the first time in 10 games in the Scottish Cup in January, but Lennon branded their Edinburgh rivals “irrelevant” after his side moved 12 points above them in fourth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Hibs dominated possession without getting in behind Hearts until Scott Allan drilled a brilliant left-footed strike into the bottom corner just before the hour mark. And Jamie Maclaren wriggled his way past two players before slotting home with 10 minutes left.
Lennon branded his team “outstanding” and said: “(Hearts) are irrelevant to us now. We are looking up the table rather than what’s behind us.
“Look, I don’t want to give soundbites and get into another verbal spat. You make these statements and they will always come back to haunt you at some stage. It’s come back to haunt them after four or five weeks.”
Lennon added: “We could have won the game by more. We have handled the psychology of a big game, again, very, very well and we have got the bragging rights back, for how long, who knows?
“But the gap is huge now between us and them, and the gap on the pitch is huge as well.”
Levein did not answer directly when asked if he regretted his post-match comments from January.
“Listen, Hibs played exactly how I expected them to play,” he said. “We just didn’t do well enough in possession of the ball. Better than we have been doing recently, in the last third of the pitch when we had opportunities to play a composed pass, we ended up rushing things.
“At the other end we defended really well, John (Souttar) and Christophe (Berra) were excellent. We played man for man at times and they dealt with the threat, until those two throw-in situations, which is something that is really annoying.”