Lee Johnson responds to suggestion he could be 'threatened' by new Hibs man

Hibs boss Lee Johnson insists he’s not threatened by now having two former English Premier League managers working alongside him at Easter Road.
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The arrival of Brian McDermott was announced last week as Hibs finally ended their long search for a new director of football. The 62-year-old has experience of coaching in the richest league in the world with Reading, as does academy director Steve Kean who was once in charge of Blackburn Rovers.

Having two such big names within the corridors of the East Mains training base may lead some to believe Johnson will be under further pressure to succeed.

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However, the head coach only sees the acquisitions of the pair across this season as a positive as he seeks to get Hibs moving in the right direction.

Hibs' new director of football Brian McDermott alongside manager Lee Johnson. Picture: SNSHibs' new director of football Brian McDermott alongside manager Lee Johnson. Picture: SNS
Hibs' new director of football Brian McDermott alongside manager Lee Johnson. Picture: SNS

“I don’t see it at all like that,” said Johnson when asked if he was threatened. “There’s enough movement in football, if you like, and again it comes back down to the people. What do they want?

“As a manager, you just want to be supported until the day you’re not because you move on because of success or failure. It’s as simple as that. I’ve certainly felt that from day one at this club, which is why I joined in the first place.

“I wake up every day with that enthusiasm and I bounced in as well when Brian was appointed, because I knew we had a new member of staff.

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“The boys are lifted because they see there’s somebody else coming in that we can talk to and learn from and pick the brains of. And they know they have to be at it, because we’ve now got continued investment in the recruitment department as well. Therefore you’re going to be challenged as a player.”

McDermott, in his experience as a scout with Arsenal and Celtic, is someone Hibs hope will open up new markets for them to sign players. Johnson, while welcoming the possibility of new avenues opening, also wants to see the director of football help with enabling recruits from England and abroad to settle better into everyday life at one of Scotland’s biggest football clubs.

“For me, all the markets are important. A good football player is a good football player,” the manager said.

“As a football club, we’ve got to be better at integrating players. That’s one of the factors that Brian, Ben and myself will have a good look at, because if you are going to recruit players across borders and culture it is very different.

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“We’ve found that even with Lewis Miller, an an example. He was a young lad coming across, and we’ve got to settle him – on a human level but also on a football level.

“Scottish football is so unique and has a different tempo. One minute you’re going to Celtic and the next minute you’re not 2-0 up after 20 minutes against someone at home and you’re getting pelters.

“You’ve got to deal with the goldfish bowl – and I include the media in that – that is Scottish football.

“It’s fantastic, because it is so passionate and it’s so up and down, if you like. It’s our job to flatten the wave and make sure we’re doing consistent good work over a period of time.”

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