Hibs boss Neil Lennon not looking to inhibit 'maverick' Jason Cummings

20 April 2017

Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon insists he would never try to take the fun out of Jason Cummings following the striker's comical pre-Hampden wrestling display.

Days before Hibernian face Aberdeen in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals, the 21-year-old, dressed only in tight trunks and bandages, with the word 'Cumdog' penned on his chest, grappled with professional wrestler Grado at the Hibs training ground in a video which went viral on his Twitter account.

The sight of a star striker picking a wrestler off the floor days before a semi-final might have caused concern to some managers, but Lennon was laughing along in the background.

"The Cumdog, that's his alter ego," Lennon said. "He's just a great personality. We don't have enough of them in the modern game. He's harmless, he loves his football and he just loves being part of the fun.

"Some stories are blown out of proportion when it comes to Jason. He's a very good pro, never misses training. He's a very good player and he's been a very important player to me this season and to the club over the past three seasons.

"But you see the lighter side, not just to Jason, but the team. It was just a bit of fun."

At one stage Cummings, who has broken the 20-goal mark three seasons on the trot, launched himself off a table on top of the Impact Wrestling star.

But Lennon said: "He was doing it with Grado, who's a professional wrestler. It was just fun and I think it was all well-planned and well-rehearsed. I think, anyway. If it was off the cuff, then I've got a bit of a worry.

"But I don't think he's got a new career in wrestling, that's for sure. Not with those Speedos anyway."

Lennon added: "He is a bit of maverick but when he sees the whites of the goalkeeper's eyes, he keeps his composure really well. He scores different kinds of goals.

"There is room for improvement, he is only 21. What he has achieved so far is pretty impressive, and there's a lot more to come. I think he wants it as well.

"I don't think we should take the fun aspect of his personality because that is part of who he is. I certainly wouldn't want to do that because too many players are like robots these days. And what you have seen is a wee glimpse of the personality that he is behind the scenes."

The buoyant mood in the Hibs camp was a result of their Ladbrokes Championship title success last weekend. A 3-0 victory over Queen of the South sealed their top-flight return after a three-year absence and proved the perfect Hampden build-up.

Lennon said: "The players have achieved what they set out to do this season and we are going into a huge game as cup holders, one game away from the final. It doesn't get much better.

"It's been a nice week, we have taken the intensity away from training a little bit, because they have had a lot of games in their legs, so they can relax mentally and physically. Because they are going to need legs on Saturday.

"Aberdeen are a very good team - strong, quick, physical - but a team that doesn't faze the players."

Source: PA