Celtic shocked European football when they defeated Spanish giants Barcelona under Neil Lennon’s stewardship but the Hibees gaffer has laid comparison after his side overcame adversity to register their second victory in succession over Rangers at Ibrox.
The Hibs squad was decimated prior to kick off with the news both captain Paul Hanlon and central defensive partner Darren McGregor were ruled out which forced the manager’s hand into starting the young and inexperienced Ryan Porteous alongside Efe Ambrose at the heart of the Hibs backline.
Alongside the experienced duo, both Steven Whittaker and David Gray have been long term absentees so a much changed starting eleven saw Scott Allan make a second debut for the Easter Road side following his loan move on transfer deadline day.
A wonderful first half strike from John McGinn gave Hibs a half time lead and whilst Rangers dominated possession in the second period they created little of note and it was an excellent free kick from Sean Goss which drew them level.
James Tavernier must hate the sight of Hibs. It was he who let Anthony Stokes run riot in the Scottish Cup Final triumph of 2016 and this season he’d already scored an own goal in the corresponding fixture and this afternoon gave away the most ridiculous of penalties when he shoved Scott Allan to the floor.
Only he knows what he was thinking but Hibs Aussie striker Jamie MacLaren took the opportunity with both hands and smashed the ball, via Foderingham’s hip, into the back of the net.
Lennon was delighted and rightly so. Speaking to BBC Scotland after the match, the Ulsterman made his bold statement; ‘It’s up there in my managerial career with the Barcelona result.
‘Just under the circumstances, the injuries that we had.
‘It’s our fifth game in 13 days, I’ve lost Hanlon, I’ve lost McGregor, I’ve lost Whittaker, I’ve lost Gray.
‘So I’ve got Lewis Stevenson, my left back, playing left centre-back, I’ve got John McGinn, a midfielder, playing left wing back, I’ve got Martin Boyle, a winger, playing right wing-back. So there were a lot of square pegs in round holes.
‘But the new boys had another excellent game, Scott Allan was fantastic and we really played some good football, especially in the first half. I couldn’t be more proud of my team. To go there when Rangers have their tails up and play so strongly is fantastic.
‘MacLaren’s movement was excellent and his link-up play with Kamberi was very good, considering they haven’t played together before.
‘He’s smart, he’s intelligent, and he took the responsibility of the penalty as well, no-one was getting the ball off him.
‘He’s a little bit undercooked still in terms of football, but he can be delighted with his contribution. The players are off until Thursday now and it’s a well-deserved rest. They’ve covered themselves in glory this week.’
Unfortunately, as seems to be the case when Hibs play at Ibrox, Lennon was again subject to abuse after guiding his side to victory when an online troll targeted the Hibernian boss.