Lennon takes responsibility as defeat highlights Hibs’ shortcomings in the transfer window
Byrne 58, Pittman 70 The signing deadline was still hours away when Hibernian called a halt to conjecture, rumours and hope with a statement on Friday that their activity had concluded. However, defeat at Livingston only hours later will have done nothing to end the debate surrounding the club’s transfer business.
The Easter Road outfit highlighted the arrival of eight new recruits, six of whom are senior internationalists, but a lack of last-minute wheeling and dealing was a disappointment for some supporters eager for the addition of a late spark of excitement to a transfer window in which Hibs did much of their work early.
Manager Neil Lennon had expressed a desire for “one or two more” and even on Friday revealed he had “plates spinning” on ongoing deals. In the end, however, there was no return for Scott Allan, no move to Turkey for Efe Ambrose, no new defender and no striking reinforcements, but the loss at Livingston ensured there remain plenty of question marks.
Hibs, who handed a first start to 21-year-old striker Lewis Allan, were without star striker Flokamberi,numberonekeeper Ofir Marciano, skipper David Gray and midfield enforcer Marvin Bartley at the Tony Macaroni Arena because of injury, while experienced Australia midfielder Mark Milligan remains unavailable as a work permit is finalised.
Emerson Hyndman and Thomas Agyepong have still to settle and Jamie Maclaren is short of full fitness, but having gone a goal up courtesy of Daryl Horgan’s 52nd-minute opener they should still have been able to avoid a first defeat of the domestic campaign.
Lennon lamented “awful defending” but deflected attention away from his squad by insisting he would take responsibility for the defeat, insisting he would have to consider his team’s formation and style as they work through a “transitional phase”. He and his squad now have a fortnight to stew over a performance that mostly lacked cohesion, defensive fortitude and attacking incisiveness, and Horgan admitted the new recruits may just need more time.
“To be fair, we didn’t play particularly well,” admitted Horgan, pictured. “In the first half, I thought we were comfortable and in control. A lack of quality in the final third was the killer for us. We looked very solid and got the goal, but we weren’t good enough, to be honest.
“There’s a lot of new faces that have come in, myself included.