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Furious Hibs boss Johnson determined to clear out ‘dead wood’
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Anthony Brown
Press Association
Lee Johnson was scathing of his Hibernian players (Malcolm Mackenzie/PA)
Lee Johnson was scathing of his Hibernian players (Malcolm Mackenzie/PA)

Lee Johnson admits he is “sick to death of the mediocrity” at Hibernian after they succumbed to a 3-0 defeat away to city rivals Hearts.

The Easter Road side were 2-0 down at the break following a Lawrence Shankland double and, although they improved in the second half, Stephen Humphrys sealed victory for the hosts in stoppage time.

It was a ninth defeat in 11 cinch Premiership games for Hibs and an eighth Edinburgh derby in a row without victory, and Johnson, who took over as manager in the summer, has vowed to clear out the “dead wood” within his squad.

“The first half we were way below par,” he said. “Mediocre is too high a word for it.

“We didn’t have the gravitas in the game to be able to settle the ball and tidy up.

“The ball was like a hot potato and to be honest I’m sick to death of the mediocrity. We need to move players out in January.

“This is a wonderful club full of potential, with a great fanbase, good training base and a brilliant stadium and it deserves more. We need to make way better decisions all over the place because today showed exactly where we are.

“At 2-0 down we started playing, but you’ve got to have the mentality that you are the best player on the pitch at 0-0.

“We need outs. The outs are as important as the ins. Again the mediocrity we have have got – I’m just being honest now. I’m in a place where I have to come out swinging. I’m not disrespecting players, but decisions have not been good enough (on recruitment) and we need to be better.

“We can’t keep being average at best. For a club like this, it’s just not good enough. Everyone needs to tell themselves some home truths. It feels like a big club because of the media, the scrutiny, we are in Edinburgh, there’s two clubs in Edinburgh.

“But act like a big player then within a big club and have that bottle to go and produce, not just in training but in games.”

“We have got to do more, and part of that is a revolution now, not just an evolution.

“I think the actual revolution is about getting the dead wood out and increasing the quality.”

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson praised captain Shankland after he took his tally for the season to 18 with a clinical close-range finish and a penalty.

“With the first goal, Shankland does what Shankland does best,” said Neilson. “He was predatory in the box. But he also leads the lines so well and drops in and links the game. I think we’re seeing a new dimension to his game and it’s great to see.”

Neilson was pleased with a win that took his side five points clear in third place but disappointed they did not maintain their first-half performance into the second period.

“Hibs started the game better than us, but we managed to get up the park and the goal settled us down,” he said of Shankland’s eighth-minute opener.

“The rest of the first half we were pretty comfortable, but in the second half we started to sit a bit deeper and went a bit more direct in our play.

“It’s disappointing that we didn’t continue doing what we were doing, but to Hibs’ credit they were more aggressive in their press in the second half.”


Scottish PremiershipHeartsHibernian
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