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Lennon fuels exit rumours after shock media snub

 

By Gavin McCafferty

Hibernian assistant Garry Parker believes Neil Lennon will stay at Easter Road - after the head coach's failure to show up for a media conference sparked fresh doubts over his future.

Parker revealed an ill Lennon had slept in for his lunchtime media duties - he had been suffering on Tuesday when he asked for cough sweets at his pre-match conference ahead of Wednesday's Edinburgh derby.

Lurgan native Lennon's post-match comments stunned his players when he revealed he was considering his future after a 2-1 defeat by Hearts cost Hibs the chance of second place in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Hibs reported positive talks between Lennon and chief executive Leeann Dempster on Thursday but there was no sign of him almost two hours after he was due to speak to the media yesterday.

Parker said: "He's okay. He's had flu for the last couple of weeks and he's at home in Glasgow. He has overslept. His wife woke him up and he has gone back to sleep, which is in fact a true story."

When asked if he thought Lennon would still be manager next season, Parker said: "I think so, yes. Why not? That was the heat of the moment. You know what he's like, he's a winner. After a game, things don't go his way, he just lets it all go."

Parker claimed his former Leicester and Celtic team-mate would have retracted his comments.

"Course he would have," Parker said. "He doesn't like getting beat at anything, cards or whatever it is. And he loses it. I've seen him like that before. I know what he's like and it's nothing massive. It's just how he is.

"He will never change. We'll be having this conversation again somewhere else down the line. He's upset because we knew we could finish second and we let it go, and we let it go to Hearts, which is not on.

"We had a meeting at the start of the season where we discussed where we thought we could finish in the league. Some people said top six and he said: 'No, anybody think we could win it?' One person said yes. And he said: 'I think we can finish second'.

"And we nearly did it, and that is the disappointing thing. Two games to go and we lose to Hearts and didn't turn up. But it's been a good season."

Lennon branded some players "unprofessional" for wearing the wrong footwear at Tynecastle and for the way they conceded Steven Naismith's winner.

"If you're a player then of course you're not happy," Parker said ahead of tomorrow's visit of Rangers, which Hibs need to win by six goals to finish third.

"But they know what he's like as well. He did it last year and he came in the next day and apologised, and we just get on and go again.

"People have arguments and fall-outs. He still thinks the world of his players. They have been brilliant for him."

Lennon hinted at frustration over recruitment plans on Wednesday but Parker stressed they had been happy with the support of the board and were set on dealing with the loss of several players.

"We have got to rebuild," Parker said.

"We know players are on loan and have got to go back. It's up to us, we are looking now. We will get this game out the way and then we can look at all that and see what players we need to bring in."

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