Lee Johnson hit with touchline ban and will miss key Hibs home game next month
The Easter Road boss was cautioned by referee Steven McLean during the first half of the 3-1 defeat by Celtic on Saturday and with that booking the 41-year-old’s fourth of the campaign, he has incurred a one-match touchline ban and will be absent from the dugout when Motherwell visit the Capital on cinch Premiership duty on April 1. Trusted lieutenants Jamie McAllister, Adam Owen, and David Gray will lead the team with Johnson overseeing the action from the directors’ box.
Johnson picked up his first booking during Hibs’ 2-1 defeat by Livingston in West Lothian in August, and was cautioned again during their 2-0 victory over Ross County in Dingwall in October. His third booking came in a 2-0 home defeat by the same opponents the following month before he was carded at the weekend.
Frustratingly for Johnson, the yellow card he was shown at Parkhead was incurred as a result of someone else in the Hibs dugout throwing a second ball on the pitch in a bid to prevent Celtic from taking a quick free kick.
In cases where an incident happens off the field, and the match official is unable to identify the guilty party, the manager receives the yellow card as the most senior member of staff – with the Capital club’s head coach firing a warning to the individual responsible in his post-match remarks.
Speaking after the game Johnson said: “I was shown a yellow card because a Hibs staff member had apparently thrown another ball onto the pitch for whatever reason, which isn't something I advocate or want to do. There's an element of game management of course, but that's not it.
"Apparently the officials didn't know who it was and in those cases the manager takes responsibility for the technical area so that’s why I got booked. Whoever did do it will be paying two weeks' wages!"
Meanwhile, Johnson is unlikely to face any SFA action over his post-match comments at Parkhead. The Hibs boss criticised the refereeing performance but club insiders are confident he stopped short of straying into territory that could land him with a notice of complaint.