Lee Johnson issues warning to below-par Hibs stars after Rangers defeat
Second-half goals from Ianis Hagi and Todd Cantwell after James Tavernier’s first-half opener gave Rangers a 3-1 win in the Capital, with Paul Hanlon’s late header a mere consolation for the hosts as they were unable to build on last weekend’s promising performance during the goalless draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
The Easter Road manager’s assessment of his team’s performance was that it was ‘okay in parts’, but he appeared to send a message to certain members of his squad ahead of the final two games of the campaign against Celtic at home on Wednesday and Hearts at Tynecastle on the final day – and hinted at significant movement in the transfer market this summer.
"We've had seven games against the Old Firm and only taken a point. To take more, we have to recruit and develop better,” he said afterwards. “There needs to be another evolution of our squad. We're not going to settle. We want to build and hold onto the core but some players have got to do more or they move on. The quicker they realise that Hibs is a fantastic club to play for, and that it's not just about being a footballer or coming in every day and training, the better.
"It's actually about performing in these big games week in, week out and that's what we want. We want to be at those types of levels as much as we can and if we do manage to get into Europe, or even better, the group stages, then it's Saturday-Thursday-Sunday, Saturday-Thursday-Sunday consistently for the first ten weeks of the season. You've got to have the gravitas at the level to be able to affect the game more than some of ours do."
Rangers boss Michael Beale added: “Knowing Hibs are in such good form, unbeaten in four, I thought it might be an interesting day for us. Obviously they are fighting for a European place but you didn’t feel that in the game because I thought we were comfortable throughout – certainly after James scored the free kick."