Hibernian 5-5 Rangers: Neil Lennon pledges future to Hibs after outburst

Neil Lennon celebrates Hibernian's equaliser in their draw with Rangers
Neil Lennon has led Hibernian to their highest-ever top-flight points tally of 67

Neil Lennon insists he will "absolutely" remain Hibernian head coach next season.

Lennon, 46, pledged to "reconsider his position" after Wednesday's derby loss to Hearts ruled out the possibility of a second-place Scottish Premiership finish.

Hibs ended the season fourth after a thrilling 5-5 final-day draw with Rangers at Easter Road.

Speaking before the match, Lennon said he would "100%" be Hibs boss next term.

'Fourth acceptable for some - not me'

The point earned from an incredible see-saw battle with Rangers means the Northern Irishman has guided Hibs to their highest-ever top-flight haul of 67 points.

He stressed post-match that his midweek anger had fuelled "unnecessary scrutiny" of his relationship with the club's board.

Jamie Maclaren celebrates scoring for Hibernian against Rangers
Jamie Maclaren's hat-trick helped Hibernian to a point against Rangers

"What I said the other night has nothing to do with the board," Lennon said. "The board have given me all the backing they can.

"They had surplus funds for me in January if I wanted to bring another player in, and we didn't because we were happy with what we had.

"I've never gone, at any club, banging the door down going 'gimme, gimme, gimme, or I'm going'. I spit the dummy out when we lose, but when I'm working with board members and chief executives, I understand the reality of where we are.

"I had a target in mind, I wanted to break into that bracket of Aberdeen and Rangers and we've come up short.

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Highlights: Heart of Midlothian 2-1 Hibernian

"I have to look at myself and say, 'did I do enough?' We did all right. Fourth is acceptable for some people - not for me."

'The Rangers fans make it personal'

Jamie Maclaren's stoppage-time hat-trick goal secured Hibs a share of the spoils in a remarkable clash they led 3-0 after just 22 minutes, and trailed 5-3 after 70 minutes.

Lennon was sent to the stands for his jubilant on-field celebrations following the equaliser, but insists he has no regrets over his aeroplane-style canter towards the Rangers fans.

"They make it personal, don't they?" Lennon said. "You all hear it. They're singing sectarian songs at me.

Neil Lennon celebrates Hibernian's equaliser in their draw with Rangers
Lennon celebrated Maclaren's equaliser by running onto the Easter Road pitch

"So it's just a little bit of, 'have some of that'. It was worth [getting sent to the stand]. Trust me, it was worth it.

"I shouldn't get a ban for that - I was nowhere near them really - I was just letting them know how pleased I was to get the equaliser.

"It's harmless, isn't it? I think the sending-off's enough. I don't think I should get further punishment for that."

'I'd imagine a couple of the loanees will be back'

The former Celtic player and manager must now rebuild his Easter Road squad for next season.

Loanees Maclaren, Florian Kamberi, Scott Allan and Brandon Barker are due to return to their parent clubs. Dylan McGeouch is leaving under freedom of contract, while John McGinn is a reported transfer target for clubs in Scotland and England.

Hibernian's departing loanees
NameParent club
Scott Allan (midfielder)Celtic
Brandon Barker (winger)Manchester City
Florian Kamberi (striker)Grasshoppers
Jamie Maclaren (striker)Darmstadt 98
Faycal Rherras (defender)Mechelen

"Dylan was very emotional after the game," Lennon revealed. "Understandably so - he's done some great things in a great team here at the club. He was a bit upset afterwards but it just shows you what the club means to some of them.

"He can walk away with a huge amount of pride in the contribution he's made to the club.

Dylan McGeouch with a Hibernian scarf after his side's draw with Rangers
Dylan McGeouch has played his last game for Hibernian

"We don't know where we are with the loan players but I would imagine a couple of them will be here. I would say they will look back on this time in their careers very, very fondly. What the club have done for them and they've done of the club has dovetailed very well for their careers.

"They've made a huge contribution to the season - whether we can get them back or not is another thing."

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