Emotional Hibs boss Lee Johnson pays tribute to Ron Gordon and hails 'great club win' against Hearts

Hibs boss Lee Johnson celebrates at full time after beating HeartsHibs boss Lee Johnson celebrates at full time after beating Hearts
Hibs boss Lee Johnson celebrates at full time after beating Hearts
An emotional Lee Johnson paid tribute to late Hibs owner Ron Gordon after the Easter Road side recorded a first win in the Edinburgh derby since Boxing Day 2019.

Kevin Nisbet’s 67th-minute strike was enough to hand Johnson his first success against his former club and strengthen Hibs’ efforts to secure a top-six berth and potentially European football next season.

Speaking afterwards, the Hibs manager paid tribute to the 68-year-old, whose passing in February after a lengthy battle with cancer shocked Scottish football and cast a shadow over the Capital club.

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"I’m sure Ron was looking down on us and would have enjoyed that one himself. He’s always with us – we're going to put a collage of him up at the training ground, and he lives on through us and through his family as well,” Johnson said. “I wish he'd been there because it would have been a fantastic thing for him to see but he's a constant in terms of the way we speak of him. He gave a lot of us our opportunities here.”

One of Johnson’s wishes since taking the reins at Hibs has been to hear Sunshine on Leith belting out at the end of a match at Easter Road and he got his wish – with the club anthem given an airing at full time as the sun beat down on the stadium.

“It was quite emotional at the end. It’s a brilliant club and we felt like we owed something to the fanbase, they deserved that one. It was certainly for everyone; it was a great club win. I had a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye listening to Sunshine on Leith at the end. You work hard, the boys work hard and you just want to give back. When that song comes out it means everyone is happy. We have let the fans down a couple of times this year, probably a few too many times.

"Just when that bond was being created between the players, staff and fanbase we fell a bit short so it’s a big win for us to build the connection and trust with the fanbase. You see how powerful it is when everyone is unified.

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"You can hear the supporters in hospitality – I'm sure we'll sell out of alcohol! I’ve never been upset with the doubters. I'm happy for the fans to feel however they want to because I know they'll come back round with us when we put in performances like that."

Johnson reiterated his belief that Hibs is a ‘fixer-upper’ of a club but insisted that the ongoing project is ‘brilliant’, adding: “There's a director of football coming in to add to the footballing nous; we're going to invest in the training pitches, the infrastructure, the recruitment department.”

While admitting it was good to bring an end to the run of derbies without a win, Johnson insisted that on paper it was just another three points.

“Nothing's done yet. It was three points, same as it would have been last week if we'd won at Dundee United. Although it was bigger than that from the club's perspective, the league table says we need to secure top six first and then we'll try to catch everybody else."

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