The Hearts game is now behind Celtic and the next challenge for Neil Lennon is to end the Easter Road hoodoo.
Not just is this important in Celtic’s chase for a treble-treble, but this is vital to Lennon’s chances of staying in the job. There, as expected, will likely be a portion of the fanbase that feel going for Lennon permanently would be a step back.
That’s an understandable thought. But the current Celtic interim manager deserves the chance to put his case forward for the job. And a defeat at Easter Road on Saturday would be disastrous.
Celtic have of course broken a Scottish record for cup ties won. Their 5-0 victory over St Johnstone last month meant that the Hoops have now gone 25 consecutive cup ties without a defeat. Incredibly, that’s without even being taken to a replay or extra-time.
But make no mistake – if Lennon wants the job, he needs to extend that run to 26, and arguably 28.
He’s going to encounter a problem this weekend that he himself created. Paul Heckingbottom may be the new Hibernian manager, but his squad is the one Lennon built.
With the likes of Stevie Mallan, Daryl Horgan, and Florian Kamberi in there, there’s a raft of talent and energy through the Hibees squad. Kamberi in particular will be looking to shoot Lennon down after a reported falling out whilst Lennon was Hibs manager.
Lennon should know Hibs inside and out
The fact Lennon was the Hibs gaffer, however, could work in our favour. He’ll know the side’s weaknesses just as much as he’ll know about their strengths.
It’s simply essential Lennon keeps the good feeling at Parkhead ticking over. Brendan Rodgers failed to win a single match at Easter Road. He came up against Lennon three times in Leith – drawing one and losing two.
Therefore, Lenny can do what Rodgers simply couldn’t and end our Easter Road hoodoo. If he did, it would be yet another shot in the arm after the morale-boosting Tynecastle success.
A draw is more than affordable so long as the replay is won. Of course, surviving a replay would be ideal.
At the end of the day, it’s all about that treble treble. Deliver that and the job is surely Lennon’s. If he doesn’t? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
But Lennon has some convincing to do to some supporters and the Celtic hierarchy. Here’s hoping he can add another fine result to his CV this Saturday and keep on making his case.