New Hibs boss Lee Johnson 'can't wait' to go up against Hearts and Robbie Neilson

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Lee Johnson was a team-mate of Robbie Neilson during their playing days – and the new Hibs boss can’t wait to lock horns with his former Hearts colleague as managers.

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.

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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.

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“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.”

Lee Johnson is unveiled as the new manager of HibsLee Johnson is unveiled as the new manager of Hibs
Lee Johnson is unveiled as the new manager of Hibs

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.”

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