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Hibs deserved to win Betfred Cup group, says Neil Lennon

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon (SNS)
Hibernian manager Neil Lennon (SNS)

HIBERNIAN manager Neil Lennon believes his side were worth winners of Betfred Cup Group D as they progressed to the knockout stages with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Alloa Athletic.

A first-half opener from teenager Fraser Murray and a second-half double from summer signing Simon Murray earned the Easter Road side top spot after Ross County’s failure to beat Arbroath.

Lennon, whose men defeated Arbroath 6-1 on Tuesday night, reckons the win was the ideal preparation for their return to the Premiership against Partick Thistle next Saturday.

He said: “It’s a bonus. We didn’t expect to win the group but I think we deserved it because we’ve played really good football in all the games.

“I’m delighted to get through to the knockout rounds, which was important. I’m very pleased. It was important to win the game and we’ve won it in convincing fashion.

“It’s another game under the players’ belts. We’re scoring goals and keeping clean sheets.

“We’ve got players who can make a difference in the final third and we’re showing that at the minute.”

The two Murrays grabbed the attention with the goals, but Lennon singled out winger Martin Boyle for special praise.

He added: “Simon’s scoring goals. There’s still a lot of work in Simon in terms of his all-round play. But he’s scoring goals and the second goal is a great goal.

“He got another tap-in but I think he owes a lot to Boyle, who is playing fantastically well and taken his game on to another level.”

It was a third defeat in four Betfred Cup games for Alloa, but manager Jim Goodwin was heartened by an improved display from his players after their midweek defeat to Montrose.

He said: “To lose the game 3-0 is disappointing but in terms of how we played, overall it was quite pleasing.

“We were really poor on Tuesday night and we asked for a reaction, and I think we got it.”