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Alan Brazil: I’m delighted Neil Lennon is off to a flying start at Hibs

Neil Lennon (Steve Welsh/Getty Images)
Neil Lennon (Steve Welsh/Getty Images)

NEIL LENNON has endured more than his fair share of storms over the years.

That’s why I’m chuffed to see him enjoying some hard-earned “Sunshine On Leith” as Hibs boss.

I rate Lenny really highly as a manager – always have done.

I even wanted Celtic to swoop and pinch him from Bolton Wanderers back when Ronny Deila was stinking out Parkhead.

It didn’t happen, of course, and Neil ended up struggling under dreadful circumstances at the Trotters.

It didn’t look good, and, as a result, plenty doubted whether Hibs had got the right man to replace Alan Stubbs.

The critics are already eating their words.

Lenny has got the Hibees off to a flying start in the Championship, and he clearly loves life in Edinburgh.

After all the nonsense he has had to put up with over his career, I can see why.

Glasgow can be a goldfish bowl for anyone involved with Celtic or Rangers. Edinburgh, by contrast, is that bit more relaxed.

Indeed, Lenny must have allowed himself a wee wry smile when the Old Firm fall-out turned nasty during the course of the past week.

He  has been there before, but now he’s well out of it.

And it seems the poison-free atmosphere in Scotland’s capital is bringing out the best in him.

While accusations of sectarianism wereflying, while Celtic were getting gubbed 7-0 by Barcelona, while Joey Barton was being kicked out of Ibrox, and while the debate about the Hogmanay clash began to rage, Neil was
picking up the Championship Manager of the Month award.

It must have felt terrific.

And never mind the supposed risk Hibs took by appointing him, Lenny deserved to be recognised after the risk HE took by signing up at Easter Road.

Think about it. After what happened at Bolton, Neil’s next job was always going to be crucial.

He could have bided his time, and waited for something less pressurised.

Instead, he took charge of a Hibs team riding high after winning the Scottish Cup, but for whom anything less than promotion this season would be viewed as a total failure.

The Hibees are now in their third season outside the Premiership. It’s unprecedented.

A fourth would be absolutely diabolical.

Lenny knew that when he took the job, but it didn’t stop him. He looked at the situation and backed himself to get the job done – and I believe that’s exactly what he’ll do.

There will be hiccups along the way. There always are. The early Europa League exit was one, yesterday’s shock defeat another.

But Neil is an experienced manager now, a guy who has won trophies and taken Celtic into the knockout stages of the Champions League.

He’s a boss who has masterminded a victory over Barcelona and kept Bolton in the Championship from being bottom of the league when he took over.

Lenny has achieved things – and that’s what Hibs need from a boss.

As far as I’m concerned, manager and club fit each other perfectly. Both have gone through tough times, but both are desperate to get back on the right track.

I believe both are on the right path.

If he remains on the same track as the start of this campaign, next season Lenny will be back in the Premiership – and ‘enjoying’ trips to Celtic Park and Ibrox!


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