Hibs boss Lee Johnson hopeful of having 'three or four back' for St Johnstone trip

Hibs manager Lee Johnson is hopeful of having three or four players available for Saturday’s Scottish Premiership opener against St Johnstone, with new signings Marijan Čabraja and Élie Youan cleared for involvement after their work permits came through.

Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 10:30 pm

Insisting that the club wouldn’t dwell on the last few days, which saw an unceremonious exit from the Premier Sports Cup after the ineligible Rocky Bushiri was played against Morton and a 3-0 victory awarded to the Cappielow outfit, Johnson revealed his confidence that the Easter Road side would only get stronger.

Johnson said: "It’s been a bit of a shambles on and off the pitch, but we could have been defeatist, or grumbled about the Norwich friendly not being ideal.

"We didn’t; we tried to find a positive and make it a success and we did. What do you want to do, mope or crack on? We’ll get the boys ready for what’s a really important start to the season.”

Johnson was without ten first-teamers through a mixture of illness, injury, and work permit hold-ups for Sunday’s friendly and is optimistic of having a wider pool to choose from for McDiarmid Park, but he is wary of pitching in players who are yet to gel with their new team-mates.

"I’m pretty sure we will get three or four back, but there are players who I might want in the team who haven’t had the chance to work in a cohesive team so that will be the difficulty of the selection.”

He admits he doesn’t yet know his strongest XI and warned that it could take several weeks before supporters see Hibs at their best.

“I just want to get 15, 16 players, the ones I’m going to use on a regular basis, together. When you sign a lot of new players like we have it’s going to take time to blend them all,” he added.

Hibs manager Lee Johnson insists his side can only get stronger

"There have been some really good signs. In certain games we’ve looked the real deal, in others we’ve looked miles off and struggled to break team down a little bit. Defensively we’ve been pretty organised and consistent.

“It’s been a mish-mash of a pre-season, or cup run but we’ll only get stronger. It’s a learning curve for all of us.”