Hibs boss Lee Johnson plans to turn his phone off to avoid late transfer bids for 'perfect' Josh Campbell
The midfielder scored a hat-trick and provided two assists as the Easter Road side demolished an abject Aberdeen side 6-0 on Saturday, spelling the end for Dons boss Jim Goodwin, who was sacked a mere 19 minutes after the full-time whistle had blown, with his opposite number offering some words of sympathy.
"I know Jim, I've played against him a number of times and he's a very good manager,” Johnson offered afterwards. “It's a ruthless business this game – I've been on the end of scenarios like that myself – but he'll be fine. He's a very good manager with a very good track record and he'll go and get another good job very quickly. But I want to talk about Hibs."
Describing his team’s performance as ‘brilliant’, Johnson added: “It's lovely when a plan comes together and against Aberdeen it did. I thought the boys were outstanding from the first minute. I thought Will Fish was outstanding all game – we see it in training all the time and he's now taking that level of performance into a first-team game. I'm really proud of everybody associated with the club because it was a big performance for a number of reasons. We got two young lads on at the end who contributed well – we put them on at 4-0 and ended up winning 6-0.”
Campbell deservedly stole the show with his first hat-trick for Hibs. The midfielder covered every blade of grass, popped up with vital tackles in defence as well as running the Dons defence ragged in the final third. When Hibs were awarded a penalty, there seemed little doubt over who would take it – even with designated spot-kick expert Nisbet on the park.
"I'm not sure I would have given him the penalty if I was Nizzy – I thought that was really unselfish,” Johnson admitted, adding: “I'm not sure I would have allowed it at 3-2 but at the same time you just knew he was going to score.
"I'll be turning my phone off for the next few days just in case anyone comes in for him. I love Josh. For me he's the perfect player: industrious, fit as anything, and brave.
"What I want to keep cajoling out of him is that class and composure and relaxation in key moments because he's got it, and we see it every day in training, but I think sometimes his youthful exuberance makes rash decisions. We talked about him getting three or four more goals before the end of the season to set him up as that real box-to-box eight or industrious ten – he's nearly done it in one game!”
Johnson also had praise for Harry McKirdy, adding: “I feel we're in sync now in terms of me and him, and him understanding the levels of professionalism that I require. He always trains well but the last four weeks I could see that he's had the bit between his teeth, he's stayed quiet, and let his football do the talking. That's why he got his chance, that's why he deserved it, and I thought he did really well."