'It's not like I was doing knee slides in front of Robbie': Hibs respond to Hearts comments over derby celebrations
Hibs manager Lee Johnson has dismissed Hearts’ claims that his team over-celebrated after their stoppage-time equaliser in last Sunday’s Edinburgh derby.
Hibs levelled the cinch Premiership match in the 95th minute when Martin Boyle – who had only just signed on his return from Al-Faisaly – scored to cancel out an Hearts opener by Lawrence Shankland to force a 1-1 draw.
Hearts defender Toby Sibbick said earlier this week to the local press that “they [Hibs] score an equaliser and it’s like they’ve won the league or a trophy – iyt puts it into perspective where we both are, while Jambos boss Robbie Neilson also appeared to take a swipe at Hibs’ celebrations when he said in his post-match media briefing: “We had a brilliant season last year, finished third, we have (European) group-stage football coming, so when we come to these places and drop points it’s going to be a big thing for the opposition.”
But speaking to the media ahead of Saturday’s trip to Livingston, Johnson said that he and his players had done nothing wrong.
“I certainly won’t apologise for the perception of over-celebrating because it was a good goal for us,” said Johnson.
“The timing and the crescendo that was built up, I don’t think anybody should worry about us and how we celebrate. It wasn’t offensive to anybody. It was just us elated at a really good moment at an important time in the game.
“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.
"Honestly, I'm not bothered about the opinion. For me, it's just football. I want to keep the focus on Hibs, You do you, mate, and I'll do me. It's sole focus on this really important time.
"We're consistent with what we do. What do you want me to do in game like that? Even a neutral would enjoy passion and excitement, I think a lot of people did. But unfortunately for Robbie, on that time, he was on the wrong side of it, but I'm sure he will be on the right side of last minute winners, that's for sure.
Johnson also responded to Neilson’s post-match suggestion that Hibs had been getting ahead of themselves with some of their pre-season talk, claiming: “Hibs are talking about how they’re going to do this and do that this season.”
Johnson responded: “As for us saying, ‘we’re going to do this and that’, of course we’re going to be up front with our fans and try and articulate the journey we’re on and how we’re going to get there. Hopefully we’re proved right by the hard work we do.
“We’re not in the business of knocking others down to propel ourselves, we just like to tell our supporters where we see our place in the journey at the moment.”