NEIL Lennon insisted last night that he won’t give the Tynecastle thugs a second thought as he prepares to bring his Celtic side back to a venue where he has been subject to attacks no fewer than three times over the years.

Infamously assaulted by an intruder who ran onto the pitch to confront him in the technical area in Gorgie on the penultimate day of the 2010-11 season, Lennon was verbally abused and had hot drinks and coins thrown at him on a scouting mission to that ground for an Aberdeen-St Johnstone League Cup semi-final tie at that ground in 2014.

The third and final controversy came in the colours of Hibs during an Edinburgh derby, when he was felled by a £1 coin thrown from the Hearts end which struck him in a jaw.

While it will hopefully be a less incendiary atmosphere when he returns there for a second time in his second stint as Celtic manager – his first came a matter of hours after his appointment in February, with Odsonne Edouard scoring a last-minute winner – Lennon insisted last night that such incidents will be far from his thoughts when the whistle sounds tonight.

“Will they weigh on my mind?” said Lennon. “Not really, no. I think, in essence, it’s normally a really great atmosphere and a good venue to play football.

“There’s been a few distasteful moments, but you just have to get on with the job and on with the game. I’ve got more important things to be thinking about than that.”

In retrospect that victory just hours after Brendan Rodgers left the club in February was a huge moment in the recent history of the club.

“I think I have a little bit more time to work with them, get to know them and them get to know me!” said Lennon. “It was amazing. I did the press conference at Celtic Park and then met the squad. I met most of them for the first time that night.

“You were then straight into the game the next day, but sometimes that’s a good thing when you don’t have too much time to think about it.

“I’m not over keen on last-minute goals, but you take them. It shows the mentality of the team at times. I thought we had decent control in that game in the first half, but then we just got a bit sloppy and we had to dig out a great result. We went on to the quarter final on the Saturday and played really well there.”

Now it is Hearts who suddenly have to adjust to a new manager, Daniel Stendel’s reign getting underway with a home defeat to St Johnstone on Saturday. The fixtures don’t get any easier any time soon for the basement-dwelling Tynecastle side.

“It’s Tynecastle, we know it will be a tough game at a tough venue.

“We know the importance of the game, and we know that if we win, we’ll be five points clear. That’s all the incentive we need really.

“I know they’re in a bit of turmoil really, and that they are in a bit of transition between managers.

“It may take him a bit of time to get his ideas across, but it’s still a tough place to go.

“Ryan Christie trained on Monday so he will be back in the squad, and Jonny Hayes trained too, so we’ll see if there’s any reaction. Mikey [Johnston] didn’t train, so we’ll see how he is, while Elyounoussi will still be a week or two. Mikey [Johnson] picked up a wee strain in Cluj, it’s not major at all, so if he isn’t fit for Wednesday he will be for the weekend.”