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Lennon fears Ibrox return could derail bid for second

29/03/18 
 HIBERNIAN TRAINING
 HIBERNIAN TRAINING CENTRE - TRANENT
 Hibernian Manager Neil Lennon.
29/03/18 HIBERNIAN TRAINING HIBERNIAN TRAINING CENTRE - TRANENT Hibernian Manager Neil Lennon.

Neil Lennon expects Hibernian will have to return to Ibrox a third time this season – and fears it could derail their bid for second spot.

The top six make-up could be resolved on tonight if Motherwell fail to beat Aberdeen.

That would leave leaders Celtic to battle it out with Rangers, Aberdeen, Lennon’s Hibs, Kilmarnock and Hearts over the final five games of the season.

But it also means SPFL chiefs will face a major headache as they set about drawing up the post-split fixtures.

Gers have already hosted each of their rivals twice this term but would be due another two home games after the split.

And Lennon fears his Leith outfit will be one of the sides sent back to Govan.

And despite having beaten the Light Blues in Glasgow twice this term, he fears a third trip could wreck their runners-up chances.

Lennon,whose team can cut Gers’ lead to just a point if they win its game in hand with Hamilton today – said: “I’m assuming that because we’re the lowest seeded team we will be going there for the third time.

“If that does happen it will be a major concern. It will be a major disadvantage.

“Not only for our chances of finishing second, but also from a financial point of view as we lose out on a sellout home crowd, which I think we have earned the right to have. We will just have to cross that bridge when it comes to it.”

Few expected Hibs to challenge the Dons and Rangers for second place in their first season back in the top flight – even Lennon himself.

“I never envisioned we’d be this close at this point,” said the Northern Irishman ahead of hosting Accies.

“I thought the two Glasgow teams would run away with it with Aberdeen and Hearts in there behind.

“There’s no question we’re ahead of schedule.

“We’re right in there now. We’re only four points off second with seven games to go. That’s nothing.

“We’re very mindful that Aberdeen are strong. They’ve been there and done it. Rangers have quality too. But a lot of teams are not talking about us and that suits me down to the ground.

“I’ve said to the boys that it’s their time and it’s their career. I’ve had my time but this is theirs now and they need to maximise the opportunities.”

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