The Leith boss only learned Martin Boyle was eligible for selection late on Saturday night and although the talismanic 29-year-old is not fully fit after an extended summer break, the gaffer had no qualms about throwing him into the fray, despite reservations from above.
“I was out for dinner with my mum and my nan and I was desperate to take the call [to let him know the paperwork had been fast-tracked]. It was about 9pm last night. There was a bit of deliberation about whether I should play him, from one key figure in particular, who didn't think I should but I will remind him gently, very, very gently, that that’s my role!”
Keen to call on the Australian international’s attacking skills, he introduced him as a 62nd minute substitute as Hibs tried to battle back from a 1-0 deficit.
“Obviously we have known the work he has been doing but, honestly, I was probably thinking 20 minutes today and I would have been happy with that but with Josh [Campbell] going off and being 1-0 down, we had to throw caution to the wind.”
Hearts did well to contain him as time slipped away and there was also an anxious moment when the winger went down injured. But, with five minutes of added time, he popped up to provide the superhero climax to his homecoming.
“When he got that knock I had a horrible sinking feeling that he had torn something or pulled something. But he is a light player, fleet footed, and the way he moves across the ground, players like that are quicker to come through, fitness-wise, than the 6’4” targetman. So I don't expect it to be too long, maybe two weeks before he will be ready for 90 minutes.”
But having salvaged a point from the first derby of the campaign, Johnson says there is better to come from the whole team.
"There's a lot of emotions bundled up in those moments: frustration, a bit of anger, all of a sudden you score a goal and bang; everything changes and everything lifts.
"It was an important goal. But we're not the finished article, we know that.”