Hibs boss has say on latest Harry McKirdy social media incident - 'You are always being watched'
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The 26-year-old, who hasn’t got on the pitch in the Easter Road side’s last three matches, uploaded a picture late on Saturday night showing a park bench with the caption, ‘Chels. Nina. Golf. Hibs’, understood to be a nod to the ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid’ slogan attached to Gareth Bale following criticism of the player from former Real Madrid player and sporting director Peđa Mijatovic as the former Tottenham and Southampton youngster’s relationship with the Spanish giants weakened, but also a pointed reference to his own experience as an unused substitute.
Asked about the player’s conduct, Johnson said: "My mentality is always to protect the team. You've got to be careful of the perception of anything that comes out. Somebody may see it in a completely different way to someone else, and that can include the rest of the team.
"I want players to respect their team-mates. Conversations are being had with Harry. We'll decide what the best course of action is, not only for the good of the team but also to support players like that. These lads are desperate to play and there's a lot of pressure on them."
McKirdy was reminded of his responsibilities in November when he appeared to react positively to an online comment suggesting he return to former club Swindon, telling Johnson during a one-to-one that his remarks had been misconstrued. But with the latest indiscretion coming just weeks after the manager publicly praised the player for turning things around after ‘two or three acts of unprofessionalism’, and McKirdy left out of the squad that travelled to play Newcastle in a midweek friendly, Johnson may take a dim view of his behaviour.
He added: “Do I think Harry’s a bad lad? Absolutely not. Do I think he's emotional, particularly at those times on a Saturday night? Yes. I talked about discipline at the start of the year. When I speak to Harry, I want to have a football conversation. I don't want to speak about misdemeanours. You're always being watched in football, whether it’s walking down the corridor or playing in a bounce game, and players have got to understand that.”