Lee Johnson sends message to Hibs fans after Livingston boos and makes transfer promise
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Fans at Easter Road for the team’s 3-2 defeat by Livingston – their third consecutive league loss, which leaves them pointless and bottom of the cinch Premiership – could be heard calling for him to be sacked, with loud jeering and booing at half-time and again at full-time.
"I understand it,” he said, when asked about it after the game. “I'm disappointed because I love it here, and I believe in us, but at the same time I've experienced this before in my career. I think it's magnified by the fact that we're three games into the season. That's key; nobody wants to be zero for three. We're working extremely hard here.
"The season and the league settles down when it becomes week to week and I hope that when we do turn it around, and we will, that those fans accept that and come back onside. That's all I ask, humbly. I accept the criticism and responsibility; I can understand the scrutiny. I have been here before. It’s not nice. There’s a human there as well and sometimes people forget that. But I want to do very well for this football club and we're pushing it in all directions.”
Hibs have the return trip to Birmingham to face Aston Villa on Thursday night before a daunting trip north to face Aberdeen, while after that is a trip to Kilmarnock to face a side that has defeated Celtic and Rangers and drawn with Hearts at Tynecastle.
There is a very real possibility that Hibs could struggle for points against those teams but Johnson appealed to the board of directors to be given time to turn things around – and dropped a heavy hint that there were further signings to come including one in a position that he has been ‘banging the drum about’ for some time.
“I hope they stick with me, I really do, because I want to be here. I’d never throw the towel in,” he continued. “And I understand there will be fans calling for my head. But I genuinely believe that we’ll do it. I think we’ve got a good squad; we’ve had a few issues, and we’ve got to tidy up our defensive stuff.
“We can still add. The window is still open and I’ve been consistent in what I believe we need to add, in house. I won’t say that publicly but it’s something I’ve been banging the drum about for some time now, and I’m sure that they’ll do everything they can to help.”
Meanwhile, Livingston boss David Martindale revealed his side had targeted the right side of the Hibs defence, where centre-back Riley Harbottle was playing as an auxiliary right-back.
“We managed to get in behind Hibs on a couple of occasions because Harbottle was playing right back and he is probably more aligned to being a centre back but Lee has probably had to shuffle the pack slightly because of the game on Wednesday night. I'm really, really happy. Disappointed with the second goal, and I think we can defend the first goal better, but I felt we were fairly comfortable in the game.”