GRANT HOLT knows better than most what Neil Lennon would bring back to Hibernian, he’s just not convinced everyone would be on board with it.

The search for a fifth manager in four years is underway at Easter Road, and one man has made no secret of his interest in filling the vacancy. There was nothing coy about Lennon’s responses to enquiries regarding whether he would fancy a return to Easter Road following the departure of Lee Johnson, with one report stating Hibs had even made the first move to facilitate it this week.

The Northern Irishman’s first spell in charge was a rollercoaster. There were dizzying highs and frequent drama before it all came crashing down in late 2018, with his eventual departure unfolding in bizarre fashion, even by Scottish football’s high threshold for nonsense.

But perhaps the return of Brendan Rodgers to Celtic this summer proves no footballing relationship is beyond repair, and much has changed at Hibs in the intervening years. Holt was enticed to Scotland by Lennon for a single season in 2016, but his affection for the club has endured – so much so he will pull on the green and white jersey again for September’s Scottish Masters Cup at Braehead.

 And while he’s certain Lennon would guarantee ‘fast and furious’ football, he knows the old ‘never go back’ wisdom may just ensure it causes a split in the fanbase.

“It’s half and half,” the former striker said. “Half the fans would probably love to him back with his passion and his drive, he’s heart on sleeve and works hard.

“But if you ask the other half they’d probably say no because he didn’t do this or that [the first time]. It’d be split.

“He wants attacking football and to score goals. I worked with him as a team-mate, and under him as a manager, he wants to entertain with fast and furious football.

“That’s what he brings, he won’t be one to look for 1000 passes in the match, it’d be ‘we’re going to score more goals than you, be more aggressive’.

“When he was there the first time we had a different squad balance with a lot of older heads and people who had been in Scotland longer. Then you had the talent with John McGinn in there.

“The squad is there, they just need to make sure they do the right things. The fans want players to run around and work hard, not players just doing what they want.

“We got beat, we lost matches but the fans knew we were working hard and running around like lunatics. I’m not saying the current squad don’t do that, but there needs to be a certain balance.

READ MORE: Lee Johnson breaks silence after Hibernian sacking

“The fans just want wins at the moment. I think Lee was going in the right direction with his style of play but I don’t think it’s what the fans wanted.”

Lennon would certainly be very much a ‘what you see is what you get’ appointment, a heart-on-sleeve personality who has proven box-office everywhere he’s gone. A slow march to an inevitable sacking at Celtic in 2021 had, for some, an adverse effect on his reputation in Scottish football.

But it cannot be denied he helped reinvigorate Hibs in lifting them out of the second-tier in 2017, before qualifying for Europe in his first campaign back in the Premiership. Having worked with under him in Edinburgh and played alongside him at Nottingham Forest, Holt has no doubt Lennon remains a ‘fantastic game manager’.

“Neil epitomises what he wants to win football matches,” the 42-year-old said. “All he needs to do is calm down sometimes! Under the current rules, he might end up with 50 red cards.

“If they get the right coaching staff and people he needs, that would let Neil get on with what he does. He is a fantastic game manager.

“From Friday to Saturday, they’re all the same, all Martin O’Neill, Brian Clough – during the week they let their coaches coach, then on Friday they come alive and are in their element.

“That’s what Neil does. That’s why he gives everything on a Saturday because I don’t think he could give all that energy the rest of the week.

“That’s what you get with him, and I think it’s what some fans are craving.”

READ MORE: Graham Arnold rejects chance to become next Hibs manager

Some of those same fans will head for Glasgow later this month to see Holt in action alongside a band of ex-Easter Road favourites. The former Premier League star will be joined by Alan Combe, Ian Murray, Marvin Bartley, Ivan Sproule, Dean Shiels, Colin Nish, and Derek Riordan for clashes with Celtic, Rangers and rivals Hearts.

The original Masters six-a-sides ran from 2000 until 2011, the nostalgia-laden event becoming a staple of Sky Sports’ football coverage. It’s billed as an exhibition, but anyone who tuned in back in the day will know there was often nothing friendly about it.

For that reason, Holt is glad Hibs have ‘big Marv’ on hand if things get feisty.

“I’m looking forward to it, I love doing stuff like this,” Hold confessed. “There’s nostalgia with the Masters from all those years ago, so to now be involved in it is a bit surreal.

“I’ve been in the gym trying to get in a little bit of shape so I can actually move around! But I’m not too bad.

“It gets competitive, which is why I insisted on Marvin Bartley being there. If anything happens we should be alright with big Marv.

“If you’re going to do it, you do it properly. You want to put on a show for the fans, that’s why they pay for a ticket.

“I’m not there to kick lumps out of people, but you want to give the fans some real quality, that’s hopefully what they’ll get.”

Grant Holt was speaking ahead of the Scottish Masters Cup 2023 at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow on the 9th September. To purchase your tickets, please visit