Lee Johnson breaks silence on Hibs sacking with emotional statement

Hibs are now searching for their next manager after sacking Lee Johnson
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Lee Johnson has lamented the 'small margins' that have cost Hibs dearly at the start of this season in a lengthy, emotional letter penned to fans today. The 42-year-old was sacked by the Edinburgh club after five defeats in nine fixtures, leaving the club alongside backroom team members Jamie McAllister and Adam Owen have also departed Easter Road.

Former captain David Gray was appointed caretaker boss in the aftermath. A 3-2 defeat to Livingston at Easter Road last weekend proved to be the final nail in Johnson's coffin after a 5-0 thumping from Aston Villa in last week's Europa Conference League play-off first leg.

Lee Johnson pens heartfelt letter to Hibs fans

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Johnson wrote: “I would like to thank the Gordon family for giving me the opportunity to manage this historic club, with a special mention to the late Ron Gordon, who was a great loss to us all.

“I have loved every minute of my time in Edinburgh and in the Scottish Premiership, which is an intense and challenging league but extremely fulfilling for a manager to be involved in. I have felt welcome all around the city.

“I would also like to thank the staff, who I worked closely with throughout my time at Hibs, who are passionate about the club and are always supportive of the players and backroom staff. I have met some friends for life! CEO Ben Kensell is a great leader and we enjoyed an excellent working relationship.

“Last season was a transitional season for Hibs, but I was so proud of the successes we enjoyed together as a group. Beating Hearts and Celtic at Easter Road, after a number of times of asking, were wonderful moments. Experiencing the fans’ rendition of ‘Sunshine on Leith’ after those big results was fantastic!”

European qualification was ‘crucial’ goal

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“Managing the turnover of players was important to ensuring the club challenged towards the top half of the league and qualified for European football. Therefore, to improve on 2021/22 league position, finish the season in 5th place and secure the opportunity to play in Europe was crucial."

Johnson went on to reflect on the start to this season's European venture and labelled Hibs' victory over Luzern as 'possibly the best result in Europe in over 20 years' and the home tie against Aston Villa as a 'lucrative' opportunity.

He continued: “I thank all members of the playing, coaching and medical staff for their efforts throughout my time at the club. I will follow every one of your careers moving forward. I have enjoyed giving debuts to our young academy products and helping to add value to the first team players’ on pitch performances.”

Johnson: ‘This season didn’t go as planned’

“The first three games of the domestic season didn’t go as planned. It was very disappointing given the work the players, coaching staff and I had put in to prepare the squad for an intense start to the season.

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“However, there have been such small margins that have cost us and the congested fixture list left our performances a bit flat at times. I believe it is only a matter of time before this team moves up the league and starts competing for European places. I have a lot of belief in this squad.

Aston Villa beat Hibs 5-0 at Easter Road (Image: Getty Images)Aston Villa beat Hibs 5-0 at Easter Road (Image: Getty Images)
Aston Villa beat Hibs 5-0 at Easter Road (Image: Getty Images)

“Finally, I would like to thank the supporters that really got behind me and the team. Never underestimate your ability to lift the team, especially at Easter Road. I wish everyone at Hibs the very best in the future and look forward to seeing the club drive forward both this season and in years to come.”

Following his departure from Easter Road, Chief Executive Ben Kensell thanked Johnson for his duties but said 'a disappointing start to the domestic campaign' was at the heart of the decision in a short statement.