Neil Lennon: Hibs boss expects third Rangers away match in Scottish Premiership

Jamie MacLaren celebrates scoring for Hibernian against Rangers in February
Jamie MacLaren and John McGinn scored as Hibs beat Rangers 2-1 at Ibrox in February

Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon expects his side to have a third away match against Rangers in the Scottish Premiership before the season's end.

The division splits in two after 33 rounds of fixtures and teams then play the other five sides in their half of the league once more.

Hibs, last year's Championship winners, won at Ibrox in August and February.

"I'm assuming that because we're the lowest seeded team we will be going there for the third time," said Lennon.

"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 sell-out 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."

'We're right in there'

Should Hearts also finish in the top six, they too could face a third trip to Ibrox this season.

After 33 games, Rangers will have played 17 home games and 16 away and will be due to visit Celtic, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock, having hosted those sides twice this season and played at Celtic Park, Pittodrie and Rugby Park just once.

Neil Lennon
Lennon says his Hibs side are "ahead of schedule"

Fourth-placed Hibs, who play their game in hand at home to Hamilton Academical on Tuesday, could go to within a point of Rangers before Saturday's final round of pre-split fixtures.

Rangers are in second but will drop to third if Aberdeen avoid defeat against Motherwell at Fir Park on Tuesday.

Hibs visit Ross County on Saturday when Rangers are at home to Dundee and Aberdeen are at Hearts.

Champions Celtic, who play their game in hand at home to Dundee on Wednesday, need three more wins to retain their title.

"I never envisioned we'd be this close at this point," said Lennon. "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've won a lot more games by this stage than I thought we would.

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

"It's not going to be easy, though, as once you get past the split every game is gargantuan.

"We're very mindful that Aberdeen are strong. They've been there and done it. Rangers have quality too."

And Lennon, who won the top-flight title three times as Celtic manager, added "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.

"However, they have put themselves in a very healthy position."

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