NEIL LENNON has told loan star Florian Kamberi to keep up his incredible scoring rate and he will have no option but to make his Hibernian move permanent.
The Swiss forward hit a hat-trick during the Leith side’s 3-1 win over Hamilton as he took his Easter Road tally to six goals in eight games since sealing a January move from parent club Grasshopper Club Zurich.
A clause in his loan deal gives Hibs first refusal on the 23-year-old and now Lennon – who confessed he had to be convinced to sign him after he arrived on trial – admits he is running out of excuses not to take up the offer.
The Hibs boss said: “I’m delighted with Flo and what he’s brought to the team. His first goal was magnificent and we needed that response after going behind early.
“He’s got good pace and his work rate is phenomenal. There’s no doubt he’s made us better. The longer the trial period went on the more I thought I can work with this kid.
“But he’s surprised me. His goal record was not great but the way he brings players into the game is great. I like his mobility, attitude and touch. You worry a player’s attitude may only last a week but he’s got great honesty about him.
“We’ve an option to buy and we will be considering that over the next few weeks. But performances like that do him no harm. He’s done well and he’s really enjoying life here.”
Hibs had to battle back after keeper Ofir Marciano’s blunder gave Accies frontman Marios Ogkmpoe the opener.
But Kamberi led the Easter Road fightback, finishing off a magnificent team move before adding two more after Hamilton had skipper Dougie Imrie dismissed for a pair of fouls on Martin Boyle.
Lennon’s team are now breathing down Rangers’ necks just a point behind.
But the Northern Irishman insists his men have their eyes firmly trained on Aberdeen four in front.
“We are firmly in the mix for second but we are not getting carried away,” he said. “Aberdeen have been up there for years and had a good win at Motherwell tonight.
“Rangers are like a box of chocolates, you don’t know what to expect. But they still have quality. I’m just delighted to be in the race.”
Imrie will now sit out Accies’ trip to Celtic Park on Sunday but Hamilton boss Martin Canning felt his captain was hard done by.
He said: “I thought Dougie’s second booking was soft. Boyle was going at pace. It was not a bad tackle. He’s just nicked the ball beyond him.
“But Dougie’s made two fouls all night and been sent off and Kamberi has made six fouls. But that’s football.”