Neil Lennon, the new Hibernian manager, believes the Easter Road club should be a top-four side in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Lennon was formally unveiled as Alan Stubbs’ successor in Leith at an afternoon press conference yesterday and while his initial remit will lie in driving Hibs back into the top flight after three seasons spent in the Championship, the former Celtic manager has taken a long-term view of the challenge he has assumed in Edinburgh.

And he believes the club have the potential to be among the top clubs in the country.

Read more: No "boyband" mentality allowed in Neil Lennon's Hibs sideHeraldScotland: 09/06/16 
EASTER ROAD STADIUM - EDINBURGH
Neil Lennon is unveiled as the new Hibernian manager

Asked where Hibs should be, Lennon said: “Top four. In my time, Motherwell finished second. Inverness and Ross County are among the clubs that have been in the top six. St Johnstone have consistently been third or fourth in the last couple of seasons.

"I certainly feel I can take Hibs to that level. It is going to take a bit of time. A bit of patience is going to be required. It’s not going to happen overnight but that’s the plan. I want to make this club big again.”

Read more: Neil Lennon: I hope Jason Cummings and John McGinn stay at Hibs

Lennon will be under pressure to win the Championship at his first time of asking and there is little leeway for failure after three successive seasons for Hibs in Scottish football’s second tier. He was unperturbed by that, although he did seek to brush off claims that the Leigh side are favourites for the title before a ball has been kicked.

“When you are manager of Celtic, you need to win the league,” he said. “At Hibs we need to get promotion, either by winning the league or going through the play-offs. We need to get there by hook or by crook. It will be a dog fight. I don’t think we are the favourites.HeraldScotland: Neil Lennon is unveiled as the new Hibernian manager.

“Last season we finished third and we saw the quality better Kilmarnock and Falkirk. With Dundee United coming down they will still have good players to compete at this level.”

Meanwhile, Lennon does not envisage a reunion with former Celtic striker Anthony Stokes. The Irish striker spent the latter months of the season on loan at Hibs and was the man-of-the-match as he netted twice to help the club win the William Hill Scottish Cup at Hampden last month.

He has been released by Celtic, but financially it is unlikely that a deal will be done to keep him in the Championship, while it remains to be seen what Liam Henderson’s future is at the club.

“Stokes has been released and Henderson is affiliated with another club,” said Lennon. “He’ll want to impress Brendan [Rodgers] and he’ll want to have a good look at him. It might be difficult. I don’t want to talk about players at other clubs at the minute.

“I want to bring in quality players that will suit the league and have the temperament we want here. Those two appeal but I doubt we could do Stokesy financially.”HeraldScotland: Welcome aboard: Neil Lennon leaves Hibernian's training centre on Wednesday night

Jason Cummings and John McGinn could also be set for other things, and one of Lennon’s initial priorities will be to address their respective situations.

“The club will do everything they can to keep them here and so will I,” he said. “The club have already made that pretty clear to the players and their representatives as well.

“I want to keep them. If I can, build a team round them. The core of the team is good. I just need to add a few bits of pieces. I wanted to keep those two. Jason had a great season last year, he’s a goalscorer; they’re hard to find. McGinn was capped by Scotland from the Championship, that’s fantastic and then he wins the cup as well. He can be really proud of the season he’s had and I want them all to improve on it, build on it.”