Ryan Porteous responds to Hibs boss Lee Johnson's claims over Old Firm 'mentality'

Ryan Porteous disagrees with the viewpoint of Hibs manager Lee Johnson, insisting he never feels defeated before a ball is kicked against either side of the Old Firm.

Instead, the Easter Road defender challenged his new team-mates to rise to the occasion and recognise that every slip against the Glasgow giants is likely to be punished. “From my point I view, I wouldn't say you're beat before the first whistle,” Porteous told the Evening News. “That's something that ever since you're in 12, 13-year-old coaching they're strong on. It doesn't matter if you're playing Celtic or Rangers. It's eleven men against eleven men. If you work hard and perform well then you're always going to have a good chance.

"I don't think I've got any doubts about our ability to beat Celtic and Rangers. We did it last year beating Rangers at Hampden. Obviously the last couple of results haven't been great, though we did get the 2-2 draw earlier in the season. It's the big games where I normally thrive.

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“They're the kind of games where the new lads who've come in need to understand that if you make a mistake then you get punished. It's like playing at the highest level. Celtic and Rangers – and Hearts to a lesser extent – are that good that if you make a mistake you will get punished.”

Ryan Porteous, centre left, and Hearts defender Craig Halkett are in attendance at the new Game4Padel courts at Edinburgh Park on Monday afternoon. Picture: Andy Mather

Porteous’ comments come after Johnson said he spoke to a couple of psychologists in the wake of Hibs’ 6-1 defeat to Celtic, believing his players felt they were beaten before a ball was kicked due to the decades-long dominance of the Old Firm in Scottish football. The Hibs manager said: “You practically come out of the womb and you’re told Celtic and Rangers are amazing. I was told Motherwell haven’t beaten Rangers in the league in 20 years or something – crazy. I’m not used to that sort of thing, I’ve never experienced that before. I thought about the players who have been in Scotland for a long time and this brainwashing. A few actions happened in the first 10 minutes or so and that was it.”

Ryan Porteous was speaking at a Game4Padel event to celebrate the opening of new padel courts at Edinburgh Park

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