Neil Lennon: Hibs new boss sets Premiership promotion target

Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon
Neil Lennon has replaced Alan Stubbs as Hibernian head coach

New Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon has targeted promotion to the Scottish Premiership after saying he has joined "one of the biggest clubs in Scotland".

Former Celtic and Bolton Wanderers manager Lennon, 44, has signed a two-year deal at Easter Road.

Lennon replaces Alan Stubbs, who left for Rotherham United after guiding Hibs to the Scottish Cup.

"The remit is to get them out of this division and that's the challenge that lies ahead for me," Lennon said.

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Interview: Neil Lennon

"It feels great. I'm very excited. The more I thought about coming here, the more the excitement and anticipation built.

"The infrastructure is fantastic. The club's in a good place.

"I think it's one of the biggest clubs in Scotland. I think it's probably punching below its weight the last couple of seasons and I think the potential here is huge to get it going again."

'I want to inspire a generation'

Lennon had been out of the game since leaving Bolton Wanderers in March and says the potential at Easter Road was one of the biggest factors in his decision to move to Edinburgh.

"You can see what success can bring with 150,000 on the streets of Edinburgh when they won the cup and that was a by-product of why I wanted to come here," he explained.

Hibernian players celebrate with the Scottish Cup in Edinburgh
Fans flocked to watch Hibs parade the Scottish Cup in the capital

"It feels like I have a real challenge on my hands and that's what I need. I'm a football animal, I want to work and I want to be successful."

Lennon had been linked with a return to Celtic, where he had won league titles on three successive years before leaving in 2014, and does not know how close he was to a return to Glasgow before Brendan Rodgers was appointed as Ronny Deila's successor.

"I was interviewed," he said. "I know there was a high calibre of candidate involved.

"I think it's a great appointment and I know what it will mean to Brendan as well with his background and I'm sure he is very much looking forward to the challenge as I am at Hibs."

As well as promotion, Lennon insists he is looking at Hibs' long-term ambitions and aims to "inspire" the club to greater things.

"I would like to get back to the days when Tony Mowbray was in charge [2004-06] when he had them finishing in third or fourth place [in the top flight]," he said. "I think that's par for the course for a club of this size. It's a bit of a way off but ultimately that will be the aim.

"I want to inspire a generation here."

The Northern Irishman's first game in charge will be a Europa League qualifier on 14 July and he is relishing getting back on the training ground with the squad when they return from their summer break.

"I am excited, I'm like a 44-year-old big kid," he added.

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