Hibs debrief: Lee Johnson moment you may have missed against St Johnstone

A look back at Hibs’ cinch Premiership opener against St Johnstone at McDiarmind Park.

Sunday, 31st July 2022, 11:25 am
Updated Sunday, 31st July 2022, 1:55 pm

PLAYER OF THE MATCH

Nohan Kenneh is exactly the type of player Hibs didn’t have last season and his summer signing from Leeds United looks to be a shrewd move. Playing in the anchor role at the base of a midfield three, he played more like a seasoned pro than a 19-year-old in a new league. He did the simple things well – winning the ball back, plugging gaps and keeping possession. His positioning in front of the two centre-backs also allowed Joe Newell and Ewan Henderson to push forward and be creative.

TACTICAL OBSERVATIONS

Hibs manager Lee Johnson celebrates at McDiarmid Park. Picture: Mark Scates / SNS

Lee Johnson has promised a high pressing, high energy, front-foot style at Hibs. There was evidence of that in the first 30 minutes before the game became scrappy. The midfield three, with Kenneh holding, worked very well and allowed the full-backs to push forward too in a 4-3-3 formation. There is some work to do in the final third, however, where Elie Youan was isolated and crowded out against three St Johnstone centre-backs who defended well.

DEFINING MOMENT

Murray Davidson’s red card wasn’t just the big talking point, it was also the big turning point. It allowed Lee Johnson to throw on more attacking players in a bid to break Saints’ resolve. Christian Doidge’s introduction was an invitation to deliver more crosses and Josh Campbell got on the end of one to secure victory.

MOMENT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

After a positive opening half-hour, Hibs let the tempo drop in the final 15 minutes of the first half and Lee Johnson was not amused. When David Marshall was dallying over a free kick just outside his own box, Johnson started screaming at him to get a move on. The goalkeeper got the message.

REFEREE WATCH

Ewan Henderson became the big talking point for issuing Murray Davidson a straight red for his late tackle on Ryan Porteous and handing Marijan Cabraja a yellow for what appeared to be a very similar offences. It was difficult not to sympathise with Callum Davidson’s frustration. Inconsistency was a feature of Henderson’s performance. Elias Melkersen was booked for his first foul even though Joe Newell had escaped punishment for a strong of them.