The 40-year-old was appointed the new permanent manager of Hibs on Thursday on a four-year deal, bringing to an end the Easter Road side’s month-long search for a successor to Shaun Maloney, who was sacked in mid-April.
Johnson made five appearances for Hearts as a player during the 2005/06 season, playing in a comprehensive derby victory over Hibs, but was quick to play down his time in Gorgie – and admitted the prospect of a proper rivalry was something he was eagerly anticipating.
He told the media at his unveiling: “I’m really looking forward to going up against Robbie. I’ve not heard from him yet, I was going to send him a message saying, ‘I’m coming for you Curly Top!
“I know the rivalry and that was a massive pull for me. To be honest as a manager my derbies have been rubbish – my best one was Oldham against Rochdale. I wanted Sunderland-Newcastle. I wanted Bristol City v Bristol Rovers.
“So I know I’m going to get a proper derby here. I thrive off that.
“I want to win, I want to compete and I want to deliver back to the fanbase and prove my worth.
“I like to think that my experience but also my resilience – that I’m big and ugly enough to cope with big pressure – will help.”
Johnson also laughed off suggestions his time in Gorgie would be an issue for some Hibs fans.
“If someone wants to pick on me I think they can think of better things than that. All I can do is come and work extremely hard.
"I can offer blood, sweat, and tears, and nothing else. That’s all I can do: being all-in to the football club; hopefully over a period of time, and hopefully right from the start.
"At the end of the day supporters want the club to be successful. If they are seeing signs of that I think any manager can be appreciated.”