Lee Johnson hails Hibs after opening-day win at St Johnstone - and insists team will get better

Hibs manager Lee Johnson believes there is more to come from his team after watching them secure an opening-day win against ten-man St Johnstone.

Saturday, 30th July 2022, 6:03 pm
Updated Saturday, 30th July 2022, 6:55 pm

Substitute Josh Campbell climbed off the bench to scramble a late winner after Saints captain Murray Davidson had been given his marching orders for a lunge on Ryan Porteous.

Speaking afterwards, Johnson claimed the game was exactly what he’d been anticipating.

“It was a good game, it was a tough game. You’d expect that on the opening weekend of the season,” he said.

"We had complete control in the first half without maybe executing the final pass.

“It was good that we had control and I think more will come. I look at Jair Tavares, Marijan Cabraja, that type of partnership. We should have capitalised a little bit more in the first half but I think in the end, we wore them down, created space and made them a little bit leggy with our athleticism.”

Admitting the red card had helped Hibs, Johnson pointed out that it also changed the way the game was being played.

“It becomes really difficult to break a team down. I thought there should have been 10, 12, maybe 15 minutes injury time. The ball must have only been in play in the second half for 16 or 17 minutes.

Lee Johnson applauds the travelling Hibs fans at McDiarmid Park

“That was frustrating for me because we couldn’t get into a flow. The ballboys started changing their mentality a little bit. It’s all game management and it makes it difficult to win games.”

Johnson is hopeful that the three points, and the nature of the victory, can help his team as they find their way.

“We’ve got to go through a lot. We’re a brand new team, a brand new manager, new coaching staff. We’ve got to build resilience up,” he explained.

“It was nice at the end, it was like a little moshpit on the bench. Everybody was buzzing, the fans were buzzing. They stuck with us, which was good.

“We’ve never been in as bad a place as has been portrayed. We’ve always had a strong belief in what we’re doing – we’re just frustrated we couldn’t fast track it a little bit quicker because of unforeseen circumstances.”