Alan Brazil: Hibs should be more concerned about losing Neil Lennon than John McGinn

Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon (SNS Group / Alan Harvey)
Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon (SNS Group / Alan Harvey)

HIBS have spent the summer worrying about John McGinn being poached.

But I reckon they should be more concerned about losing Neil Lennon.

Lenny’s stock was already sky-high before he masterminded Hibs’ Europa League win over Greek outfit, Asteras Tripolis.

Now it’s in the stratosphere.

Neil has done an absolutely magnificent job at Hibs.

There’s no denying it – and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

The last time I spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson – at Cheltenham in March – he couldn’t have spoken in more glowing terms about Lenny.

Sir Alex told me he thought Neil was – and this is a quote – “A very, very good manager.”

You can’t get higher praise than that.

And believe me, when Sir Alex talks, people in football circles listen.

Football people also know enough about the shambolic situation Lenny found himself in at Bolton Wanderers to write off his spell there.

That club was a mess behind the scenes when he arrived – and it had clear consequences on the pitch.

Neil had no chance at Bolton. Everybody knows that. So there’s no way he is seen as ‘damaged goods’ south of the border.

In fact, I reckon he’s increasingly seen as a hot property.

And so he should be!

At Celtic, in his first ever managerial job, he achieved something no Bhoys boss has managed since – reaching the knock-out stages of the Champions League.

That’s something he has over Brendan Rodgers.

Now, having led Hibs to promotion in his first season in charge, he was on the cusp of a second-place finish in the Premiership until the final few weeks of last season.

His reward was a crack at the Europa League.

And it’s no surprise to me that his team are flying yet again.

That’s what Lenny does when his hands aren’t tied behind his back, as they were at Bolton – manages his teams to ever greater success.

He’s a master motivator, a man manager, and a seriously under-rated tactician.

Hibs fans will tell you there are weaknesses in their team at the moment, and that’s fair enough.

They’ve been conceding too often for a start.

But that will be bothering Neil more than anyone – and he will be working hell for leather to fix it.

There are issues in the midfield, too, with Dylan McGeouch away to Sunderland and John McGinn being courted by Celtic.

Losing both would be a body blow.

But I would honestly back Lenny to roll with the punches and make sure Hibs continue to shine – as long as he stays there himself.

There’s no point kidding anybody on. Clubs in England are already looking at him.

Why wouldn’t they be?

Neil’s a young manager on an upward trend in a league English teams, particularly in the Championship, still see as a perfect recruitment ground.

If he keeps up the good work at Hibs, it’s only a matter of time until a big club comes calling.

After his experience at Bolton, Lenny will be more careful about who he says yes to.

But if the right offer comes in, he has more than earned the right to take it.

If I were a Hibs fan, that would be my biggest fear going ionto the new season.