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Lennon wary of experienced Greeks as Hibs look to progress

 

By Will Jackson

Hibernian boss Neil Lennon has branded Asteras Tripolis as favourites ahead of their Europa League qualifier.

The two teams meet at Easter Road tonight, with the Greek side boasting a superior record in continental competitions in recent years.

They reached the group stages in consecutive seasons in 2014-15 and 2015-16, and Lennon feels that experience could be crucial over the two legs - with Hibs not having made it into the first round proper since 2005.

"They have a bit of pedigree in this tournament in terms of playing in the group stages," he said.

"They have (qualified) two or three times in the last four or five years, so they are a good team and finished the season strongly as we did.

"They are a big squad but are tactically very well set up and are a smart team. It's a very difficult tie for us."

When asked if the Tripoli side were favourites, he replied: "I would imagine so.

"I would say they have a lot more experience than us at this level, however it's their first competitive game and any advantage we can take, we should try and maximise.

"They put a lot of emphasis on European campaigns, so tactically will be smart and streetwise. It's a really good test for us."

One of the sideshows to tonight's match is the future of John McGinn, with the Scotland international subject to bids from Celtic.

"(There has been) a lot of speculation and stories, but he is playing and, until both clubs reach an agreement, we will utilise John as best we can, and I have to manage him as well as I can," Lennon concluded.

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