Johnson in Hibs recruitment claim as he targets derby win against Hearts

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Lee Johnson is desperate for Hibs to follow up their Wednesday night win against Celtic with victory over Hearts on Saturday – because finishing fourth and entering European football at a later round can help with recruitment.

The Easter Road side bounced back from a lacklustre defeat by Rangers on Sunday to defeat the ten-man Hoops 4-2 on Wednesday night, with Ange Postecoglou’s side twice leading before Daizen Maeda’s red card for two bookable offences. Élie Youan scored the first and third while Kevin Nisbet dispatched a penalty and Paul Hanlon added a late fourth as Hibs set up a final-day shoot-out against their city rivals at Tynecastle.

“Wednesday night has put us in a good place. It will have killed a few coupons for sure,” an upbeat Johnson said on Thursday as he previewed the short hop across town. “But that’s the spirit of the club and we’ve got to bring that spirit more and more in all games. That spirit has to be there, and it’s really powerful. A win on Saturday would be the cherry on the top of the cake of what I would call the comeback, or turnaround. It has been a difficult job, this. It’s been difficult in terms of the discipline, the professionalism, but we have really got it going.

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"That’s why when you get beaten by Rangers you take it hard but then three days later you put in a performance like that against Celtic, and it proves to the players, most importantly, but also the fans that all the work everyone is putting in is bearing fruit.”

Lee Johnson wants one final push from his players against HeartsLee Johnson wants one final push from his players against Hearts
Lee Johnson wants one final push from his players against Hearts

While Johnson enjoyed the midweek victory, he is more concerned with the final game of the season and the rewards it can bring.

"There's no question that the derby is the most important game for the fans. It's the most important game for us because a) it's the next one, and b) it's the one with the biggest prize on it. You've got a lot better chance of getting players when you're in Europe and you can sell that opportunity as well. It's very important to a club like us to be consistently competing in those realms and this is our opportunity to do it. I hope we do because I know the work that everyone has put in."

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