Thursday, February 22, 2024
SportHibsHibs boss issues Robbie Neilson "knee slide" quip over derby celebrations

Hibs boss issues Robbie Neilson “knee slide” quip over derby celebrations

HIBS manager Lee Johnson has made it clear that he would not be apologising for the celebrations that followed Martin Boyle’s injury-time equaliser against Hearts.

The coaching staff and players were understandably euphoric at the sight of Boyle marking his return to the club with a 95th minute strike, which cancelled out Lawrence Shankland’s opener.

On a personal level, Johnson feels he and his staff did nothing untoward, pointing out that he was “not doing knee slides” in front of Hearts counterpart Robbie Neilson.

There was an unsavoury element to the affair, however, when some Hibs fans decided to invade the pitch immediately after the leveller.

Hibs manager Lee Johnson.
Hibs travel to Livingston on Saturday looking to pick up their second league win of the season. (Photo from Sky Sports)

Neilson claimed the scenes illustrated the gulf between the teams, while Hearts defender Toby Sibbick said Hibs celebrated like they had won the league or a cup.

In response, Johnson, whose team travel to Livingston tomorrow, said: “I certainly won’t apologise for the perception of over celebrating because it was a big goal for us. 

“I don’t think anybody should worry about us and how we celebrate, it wasn’t offensive to anybody.

“It felt like a deserved moment in our journey. That was why, I suppose, there were celebrations, but they weren’t that bad. 

“It’s not like I was doing knee slides in front of Robbie, do you know what I mean? 

“And by the way, every fan I’ve met since has been absolutely buzzing from the moment, and particularly because it was Boyle.

“There were so many mini stories in that one goal that meant it was important to us – momentum, flow, spirit, fan engagement. All those things mean it was an important goal.”

When pressed further on the comments emanating from Tynecastle, Johnson added: “Honestly, I’m not bothered about the opinion. For me, it’s just football. 

“And I’m learning more and more up here, in terms of that. 

“You can see little gripes, little frustrations building between managers. 

“I want to keep the focus on Hibs, You do you, mate, and I’ll do me.” 

As well as his quality on the pitch, Johnson insists fleet-footed winger Boyle’s vivacious personality is also having an impact at the training ground. 

Comparing him to a performer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Johnson added: “He’s just bouncing around. He is just funny isn’t? 

“He has these quick one-liners. (Momodou) Bojang had sat on his table today but then saw Lewis Miller sat on his own so Bojang went to sit with Lewis Miller and all I could hear was Boyle shouting: ‘That’s not good enough, you don’t want to sit with me then?’ 

“That’s a very small incident, is those type of things, then all of a sudden it’s part of the conversation – then he is over there talking about a Croatian (Marijan Cabraja), an Australian and a Gambian sat at the same table then he is making jokes, ‘A Gambian, blah blah’, that sounds like an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman. 

“It’s like going to the Fringe and seeing someone like him interact with the crowd, a comedian. I’m always shaking my head or laughing.”

Johnson, meanwhile, neither confirmed nor denied that he is interested in signing £200,000-rated LASK Linz striker Adam Griger, 18.

He said: “We’re not looking to necessarily add in that position but in terms of depth and youth our eyes are wide open to add people in and quality players. 

“He’s not our player and it’s difficult to talk about but we’ve got so many on the list now.”

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