Lee Johnson demands final top-class performance from Hibernian to secure fourth
Lee Johnson is looking for one final top-class Hibernian performance to leapfrog Edinburgh rivals Hearts into fourth place on Saturday.
The Jambos failed in their bid for third place in the cinch Premiership despite a 2-2 draw with Rangers at Ibrox on Wednesday night, with the result leaving them just two points ahead of Hibs, who beat champions Celtic 4-2 at Easter Road on the same evening.
Ahead of the final league game of the season, Johnson, whose side beat Hearts 1-0 last month in Leith for their first derby win in 10 attempts, urged a final push, albeit that both fourth and fifth will bring European spots if Celtic beat Inverness in the Scottish Cup final on June 3.
“It is a fantastic climax to the season and for us,” said Johnson, who is likely to be without CJ Egan-Riley after the defender suffered a knock against Celtic.
“That is the key. We are going to enjoy it. We are away from home, we will have our set of supporters there.
“We believe in ourselves. We beat Hearts in the last game so the form is there, which is good.
“It is a wonderful game for us. It is not one where I will have to delve deep into the motivational manual, that’s for sure. They will all be there, ready and up for it.
“It is one more round, one more round of big effort and obviously there is a big prize at the end of the day.
“The fact that they have the draw and the win on offer probably, potentially tweaks the mindset for them.
“For us, we know what we have to do. Straight shoot-out, we have to go and win the game. As simple as that. We are very clear in what we need to achieve.
“In reality, it is about us and about us delivering consistently good performances.
“What’s great is that we know what a good Hibs performance looks like now and we have done that numerous times throughout the year and we just have to find that again.
“There is one more round (of fixtures), two days’ recovery – find the performance lads.”
Meanwhile, Hibs have announced Gareth Evans as their new academy director.
The former Hibees player will complete the club’s football structure, working alongside director of football Brian McDermott, Johnson and chief executive Ben Kensell.
Evans told the club’s official website: “I am delighted to be trusted with this role and will continue to build and develop the club’s academy set-up.
“We have a lot of talented coaches and players at HTC, and I’m really passionate about developing young players. Hibs has a great tradition of that, and I want that to continue with the coaches and players at the club.”
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