Lee Johnson encouraged by early signs from new-look Hibernian team

Hibs started their campaign with a 1-0 win over St Johnstone.

By Press Association Published: 31 July 2022 - 9.18am

Hibernian manager Lee Johnson has praised his new-look side as they began their cinch Premiership campaign with a last-gasp 1-0 victory over 10-man St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

The Hibs boss started seven summer signings and saw his team dominate the match.

But despite Saints having Murray Davidson sent off just before the hour mark, the visitors had to wait until the last minute to seal the three points as Josh Campbell’s back post header deflected in off Cammy MacPherson.

Johnson said: “It was a good game, a tough game, but you expect that first game of the season.

“I thought we had complete control first half without maybe executing that final pass or the final shot with quality but a lot of players haven’t played together so it was good that we had control and I think that will come.

“We’ve never been in as bad a place as has been portrayed, we’ve had a strong belief in what we’re doing, we’re just disappointed we haven’t been able to fast-track it a little bit quicker due to unforeseen circumstances.

“We’ve got to go through a lot – we’re a brand new team, brand new manager, brand new coaching staff. We’ve got to build this resilience up.

“What was nice is our little mosh pit at the end with the subs out and the fans buzzing, they stuck with us which was good.”

The Hibs boss also hinted he may not be finished in the transfer market this summer, adding: “We’re in the market still, there’s still time.

“We had a strong bench today and there’s still Kevin Nisbet, Paul Hanlon, Lewis Stevenson and Kyle Magennis so I’m happy with the squad, but I want probably a couple of different options, a different style of player – particularly now (Aiden) McGeady is out. But if we go with what we have now, I’m happy with that.”

Saints manager Callum Davidson felt there were positives to take from his side’s defeat.

He said: “I’m gutted for the players. Ultimately we didn’t play on the ball as well as we could but I thought as a unit, a new back three and a new goalkeeper, I thought we were really good and we defended really well.

“We can be better with the ball but it’s a tough game against Hibs, they have signed a lot of players and spent a lot of money and we gave a good account of ourselves to the last minute.

“I thought we came back into the game, we changed the system at half-time as we were allowing Hibs too much space in wide areas. So we changed it a bit and we managed to get back into the game until that (red card) decision.”

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