NEIL LENNON returns to Ibrox today for the first time since 2012, “the year Rangers went into liquidation,” he recalled.
The very mention of the L word has raised the temperature sky-high and some Rangers supporters are even demanding that the former Celtic manager is brought to task by the SFA for the remark.
Remarkable for simply answering a question truthfully.
So has the Hibs boss missed visiting the stadium where everyone loves to hate him?
“Yeah I have missed it,” Lenny said. “Who wouldn’t? You miss the drama and the intensity and the theatre of it. That’s what it really is, theatre. It’s sport, it is entertainment, and there is a darker side to it sometimes. But hopefully it can all be kept within the confines of the game.
“I do enjoy it,” he continued. “Yes, there can be some venomous things said, but there can also be a lot of humour there as well. You can’t take yourself too seriously there.
“I enjoy getting off the bus. I enjoy walking out onto the pitch. I enjoy winning there – when you win it is a great feeling. So I want my players to go and enjoy that experience.
“I did okay there as a manager. Had a couple of losses but won a few times as well. We had a great performance in the cup there when we were down to 10 men – we took Rangers to a replay and won it. And I won there a few times as a player. So I’ve had some really good days at Ibrox.
“There have been a few surreal things happen to me there over the years – going out on the pitch with Martin, being sent off after the game by Stuart Dougal; that really pleased Gordon Strachan, that! I’ve had great occasions there. Beachball Sunday, that kind of thing. It’s all been part of the drama.
“You hear some quips from the crowd. You try to put on a straight face but sometimes you can’t help but snap. It is the mock outrage you see. This is different. I’m going there with Hibs. But there is still a good rivalry there.
“It is harder to stay calm on the touchline than when you’re playing. Out on the pitch, you can put in a tackle. Sometimes you need to take a deep breath on the touchline. As you get older, you do learn to temper it, maybe mellow a bit. I know the parameters in which I’m allowed to work. I know I can’t get too emotional. And I’m sure I won’t.
Lennon has told his players they can win at Ibrox. If he is right then Hib’s will have put down a significant marker, telling the rest of the league they are back and they mean business.