Hibernian: Neil Lennon says 'no excuses' for not matching standard against Celtic

Neil Lennon urges his Hibs side on in their 2-2 draw against Celtic
Lennon's side have won three, drawn four and lost one of their Premiership matches so far

Head coach Neil Lennon has warned his Hibernian side they can have no excuses for not maintaining the level that almost saw them beat Celtic recently.

The Edinburgh side had to settle for a 2-2 draw at Parkhead despite leading late on through John McGinn's double.

Hibs host second-placed Aberdeen on Saturday, with Lennon urging his players to match that standard every week.

"The Celtic performance didn't surprise me and the boys have no excuses now," said the Northern Irishman.

"That's the level they can play at and the quality of performance they can produce."

Hibs travelled to Celtic Park in their last game and led twice through McGinn, only to be pegged back by Callum McGregor's double.

Lennon's side were inconsistent at times last season, as they won the Championship, and he wants the display against Celtic to set a minimum level of performance.

"The way they handled the game and the circumstances was everything I wanted and what I knew I could get from the the team," Lennon said.

"They now need to maintain that level and if they do, we'll have a great season.

"We have three great games coming up - Aberdeen, Celtic again in the [League] Cup semi-final, then Hearts. Three screamers. That can help us get the boys focused.

"It's a good marker for how good we can be. We've already proved ourselves in Glasgow by beating Rangers and almost winning at Celtic Park.

'They tend to lose their way at times'

"So we can play really well against the best. It's the other games that worry me in terms of the mentality of the team.

"Subconsciously it's easy to get yourself up for these games. It flows. Now I want us to take that approach into every game.

"They tend to lose their way at times. I've seen it a couple of times this season and I don't want to see it again.

"But when they perform like they did last time they have no excuses for any abject performance now."

Hibernian's john McGinn takes on Aberdeen's Graeme Shinnie
Aberdeen pipped Hibs in a thrilling Scottish Cup semi-final last season

Hibs lost 3-2 to Aberdeen in a thrilling Scottish Cup semi-final last season, but the sides have not met in the Premiership since a Niall McGinn double earned the Dons a 2-0 win at Easter Road in April 2014.

Lennon's side currently sit sixth in the table, seven points behind Aberdeen, and he admits they are not yet close to matching the Dons' consistency and recent achievements.

"We've got a bit to do yet," he added. "I've been really impressed with them. Derek has lost Niall McGinn, Jonny Hayes and Ryan Jack, but then recruited really good players to replace them.

"They have started the league season really strongly - and that's where we want to get to.

"But we've got a bit to do, although we have started the process as we want to break into the top three or four bracket."

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