Hibs boss Lee Johnson calls on time-wasting to be eradicated as he brings out killer stat from St Johnstone match

Hibs manager Lee Johnson has called on Scottish football to do more to limit time-wasting and ensure that fans are given greater value for money.

Lee Johnson says the ball was in play for only 41 minutes when Hibs defeated St Johnstone last weekend.
Lee Johnson says the ball was in play for only 41 minutes when Hibs defeated St Johnstone last weekend.

Dismayed by the amount of time the ball is actually in play during matches, the Easter Road boss says it is up to clubs, ballboys, match officials and the football authorities to work together to improve the quantity of football served up on match days.

Johnson’s frustration bubbled over during his side’s opening Premiership fixture against St Johnstone, and statistics backed up his initial feelings, proving that the on-field action amounted to less than one half of the entire match.

He has now made moves to ensure Hibs ball boys are better drilled ahead of this Sunday’s capital derby, but says others have to play their part.

"How long was the ball in play against St Johnstone, over 97 minutes? It was 41 minutes, how boring is that?!” revealed Johnson. “So, what are we doing about this? We have to speed up the ballboys, referees have got to manage the game to get the ball flowing. We can’t accept people going down and wasting time. If we hadn’t scored, that extra six or seven minutes at the end of the game would have had me kicking off like you’ve never seen before. There probably should have been at least 14 minutes of injury time.”

Johnson admits that having scored a late goal, the limited amount of time added on actually worked in Hibs favour last weekend, but says he would still prefer to see high-tempo, all-action contests.

“Effectively we had 24 minutes on the ball to break down really stubborn opposition. That's all. And [St Johnstone] had something like 17 minutes. That is not a lot when you think about it.”

Happy that Scotland utilises a multi-ball system – “so they have obviously thought about it” – he says more can be done.

“The opposition are well within their rights to manage the game, I'm not moaning at St Johnstone.

“That’s why it comes down to the referees in my eyes. If you book a goalkeeper early for wasting time - and I would take this at my end as well, by the way - then I guarantee you he will speed up his play.”