Neil Lennon: My Hibs were ferocious in our derby victory over Hearts

22 February 2017

Neil Lennon praised his "ferocious" Hibernian players following their convincing 3-1 William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round replay win over Hearts at Easter Road.

The Hibs boss had criticised his players after the 1-1 Ladbrokes Championship draw with Raith Rovers at the weekend, describing the performance as "disgraceful."

However, the cup holders made up for it against their Edinburgh rivals with goals from Jason Cummings, fellow attacker Grant Holt and substitute Andrew Shinnie before Jambos striker Esmael Goncalves scored a consolation for the strangely lacklustre visitors.

Hibs face a home tie against Ayr in the quarter-finals and Lennon believes they should go into it with confidence.

"Sometimes I think I know what I am doing," said the Northern Irishman, somewhat tongue in cheek, when asked if he had seen the required reaction.

"I didn't want to do it but I felt the need. I know what I have got in that dressing room.

"My players were just magnificent. We blew Hearts away.

"We were so dominant and as a manager I couldn't have asked any more from the players and the fans.

"It has been a very good night for the club but it is just one game. All it does is put us in the quarter-finals.

"Psychologically it gives the whole club a lift, hopefully, but you can see what it means to the supporters and players the way we played.

"They were ferocious and the players I singled out for criticism, Cummings and (John McGinn) were unbelievable.

"Not only does it speak volumes for the character and personalities but also for their talent."

A rather desolate Hearts head coach Ian Cathro claimed the defeat showed the Premiership side are not at the level they thought they were at, and he bemoaned a lack of fight.

He said: "We've made a very big mistake in thinking quite simply, overestimating where we are.

"We've lost the game because we didn't have the level of fight, we didn't win the second ball, didn't have the speed.

"We didn't turn up to the fight at the start of the game. That's something we need to accept.

"We need to put our hands up and accept that we've, all of us, collectively, let the club down, let the fans down - and we've got a hell of a lot of making up to do.

"I don't want to be sitting here discussing whether there was improvement in the second half. It doesn't really matter. We've lot of people down.

"It hurts. We're hurt. We've got a lot of making up to do. To a lot of people. We can be quite certain we will make it up to people.

"We will do that by never, ever, ever, ever, allowing even five minutes of a game where the opponent wins things easily: dropping balls, loose balls, long balls, second balls.

"We can never, ever go through even five minutes of a game the way it was in the first half there.

"We forgot to show the most basic parts of football. It can never happen again."