Lee Johnson insists Hibs know they 'need to get better at some things' - but believes he has 'solved some problems'
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The Easter Road side laboured to a 1-0 victory over Raith Rovers in the second of two mid-season friendlies, and while it was essentially a glorified bounce game, many of the same issues that dogged Hibs before the pause were evident as they struggled to create much in front of goal and when they did, the chances weren’t taken.
Johnson has been consistent in his messaging since he took charge that it is a slow process, but he remains confident that things are going in the right direction. While off the pitch Hibs are certainly in a much better place than they were two or three years ago, the same cannot be said of the collective product on the park as things stand. There have been fleeting bright spots so far this season and as if a catalogue of injuries and a dismal run of form weren’t bad enough, the long-term absence of Martin Boyle has been a bitter blow. The next four matches – against Rangers at Ibrox, Livingston and Celtic at Easter Road, before a new year trip to Tynecastle to face city rivals Hearts – present a daunting route back into competitive action following the pause in cinch Premiership action.
Hibs may have defeated Raith on Thursday, but it was little more than a training game designed to get minutes into players returning from spells on the sidelines and save for Josh Campbell’s early strike, the hosts didn’t really threaten the opposition goal in the remaining 80 or so minutes. A clean sheet, kept over both halves by first David Marshall and then Kevin Dąbrowski, had been one of the main targets of the game, with Hibs having lost two against Middlesbrough in their first mid-season friendly last month.
Speaking after the game, the Hibs boss said: “We’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes to make us quicker and slicker. There’s an organisation throughout the club based on how we want to play and how the fans want to see us. It will take time, but I am very confident about the work that’s gone in.
"I can guarantee that a lot of people have been working very, very hard; that gives me a lot of confidence and is then portrayed in the team. We’ve worked a lot on the psychology of the players, which was evident against Raith Rovers. We got a clean sheet, which was good and breeds confidence, and was the focus of the day.
“[During the first half of the break for the World Cup] I was able to look at what we have done well, what we haven’t done well, where we have been unlucky, and where we should have been better. We’ve been able to solve some problems,” he added.
“We know we need to get better at some things and that we’re very good at other things. The longer time we can get together as a working team, both on and off the pitch, then that brings and breeds success. That’s very exciting about this football club.”