Lee Johnson promises plenty of movement in January transfer window as boss blasts 'average' Hibs squad players

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Lee Johnson has promised there will be plenty of movement both in and out in the January transfer window as he admits frustration with squad “mediocrity” following a 3-0 defeat to rivals Hearts.

A Lawrence Shankland double and an injury-time goal from Stephen Humphrys condemned the visitors to a ninth defeat in 11 matches as pressure continues to build.

The away side were much improved in the second half at Tynecastle but already had a mountain to climb by that point as they went in two goals down at the break.

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Johnson lamented the first-half showing and revealed there are too many squad players in his side which he considers to be “average” as he seeks to improve the quality over the course of this month.

“The first half we were way below par. Mediocre is too high a word for it,” said the Hibs manager. “The ball was like a hot potato and to be honest I’m sick to death of the mediocrity. We need to move players out in January.

“This is a wonderful club full of potential with a great fanbase, good training base and a brilliant stadium and it deserves more. We need to make way better decisions all over the place because today showed exactly where we are.

“We need outs. The outs are as important as the ins, again the mediocrity we have have got — I’m just being honest now. I’m in a place where I have to come out swinging. I’m not disrespecting players but decisions have not been good enough and we need to be better.

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"We can’t keep being average at best. For a club like this it’s just not good enough. Everyone needs to tell themselves some home truths.

Hibs manager Lee Johnson cuts a frustrated figure during his side's 3-0 defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle. Picture: SNSHibs manager Lee Johnson cuts a frustrated figure during his side's 3-0 defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS
Hibs manager Lee Johnson cuts a frustrated figure during his side's 3-0 defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS

"The fit players at the moment either don't have that football IQ or the ability to manipulate the ball and that is frustrating.

"It's not the worst squad in the world, I'm not saying we are a bad team and I haven't lost belief in the ones I believe in. I just think we need to add better quality and work our budget better. There's a lot of average squad players and too many.

"I'd rather get rid of ten and sign one that is high quality. We have made mistakes, it's as simple as that.”

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One mistake, Johnson believes, is the club allowing Ryan Porteous’ contract to run down to the point where the centre-back may leave in January. The Scottish international was absent in Gorgie due to suspension.

"I can tell you that there is interest,” said Johnson amid speculation Hibs are in talks with Udinese over his sale. “I don't know the specifics but there are a few clubs interested in Ryan as he's a very good player who I didn't want to lose but it sums up poor historic decisions made at this football club.

"Ryan should have had a four or five year contract two and a half years ago. How has that not happened?

"These are things which frustrate me as I care about it. There are good people at this football club and the fans deserve more than they saw.”

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