'Hibs and Johnson come through tough week in rude health'

Hibs talking point graphic
Hibs talking point graphic

Matty Fairnie, Longbangers podcast

Lee Johnson can look back on this week with a justifiable sense of satisfaction. Faced with two ties that each brought their own challenges, and that could each have brought about more ire from the support, Johnson has come through both matches in rude health.

A gritty, battling performance in Switzerland saw Johnson’s side hold Luzern to a 2-2 draw on the night, a result that saw the Hibees set up a mouth-watering Conference League play-off with Aston Villa, and on Sunday, Johnson saw his team dig out a 2-1 win over Raith in the Viaplay Cup to set up an only slightly less exciting home tie with St Mirren.

Neither of the two performances will be looked back on as spectacular, but they were enough to get the results needed. In Switzerland, Hibs held firm and despite a shaky first half, the players found their feet in the second half and produced a display that sent the thousand or so travelling supporters back to Edinburgh full of pride and delight.

The less said about Sunday’s match, the better. Well, in fairness, the less said about the first half, the better. The only bright spots in the first 45 minutes were the performances of Kanayo Megwa and Riley Harbottle. It wasn’t until the introduction of Joe Newell at half time that Hibs properly clicked into gear, with the home side winning comfortably in the end.

Newell is fast becoming Hibs’ talisman, and Hibs will be hoping that his great form goes unnoticed at least until the transfer window closes.

For now, I hope that the knives that have been drawn for Johnson can be put away for a while, Johnson’s navigated through a challenging few weeks relatively unscathed – the league form needs addressed, and Hibs fans will be hoping to see the very best of Hibs in the games against Villa, but defeat in those ties are unlikely to be held against the manager.