Lee Johnson slams 'ridiculous' Hibs penalty concession and singles out 'poor' perfomer in defeat to Dundee United
The Tannadice side have hinted at an improvement in form, with recent performances and draws, but their first league win since January 2 was crucial. Hibs, though, passed up the chance to cling onto the coattails of the advancing Aberdeen, and move away from seventh-placed Livingston, leaving them in a difficult spot as the split looms.
"They're all big games, but it feels like we have two cup finals coming up," said Leith gaffer Lee Johnson. "Neither team is going into the derby in great form. I feel like we really need the fans for this one, it's massive.
"We haven't lost confidence per se, but I just think there's a lot of frustration in the fact we haven't picked up points. Certainly a draw minimum, but probably three points and we would be going into the Hearts game with the ability, if we'd beaten Dundee United, to go above them if we beat them.
"And that was our mentality coming into this game but football's football and you have to bounce back very quickly. You can't lick your wounds for too long and we'll have to prepare very well to beat Hearts now."
Having fought back from losing the first goal, Hibs conceded a silly late penalty to give Jamie McGrath the opportunity to finish from the spot and secure a much-needed three points for the side sitting at the foot of the table.
“It's a ridiculous challenge to make. Ridiculous. But he knows,” Johnson said of Manchester United loanee Will Fish, who needlessly brought down the vastly-experienced Steven Fletcher. “He actually had a chance to make amends at the other end, but I felt the big moment was Élie Youan's opportunity towards the end.
"Élie was poor today; we missed him last week, but he was poor today. It's alright saying you're trying, but you've got to produce in those key moments. The penalty is just a green decision that a wily old cat like Steven Fletcher is always going to take advantage of.”
The victory was validation of the work Jim Goodwin had done since taking on the task of trying to help United fend off the drop. And, with relegation rivals Ross County winning on Saturday, it was timely.
“It was really important we got a positive result,” said the Tannadice boss. “We didn't set our stall out to not lose the game. We tried to show our intent.
“We know the quality Hibs have and I thought we managed them in the main pretty well. After the results on Saturday it was all about the result today for us. We had to go and win the game because the gap was getting too big. We have managed to get it back to two points now.
“Hopefully that will show the teams above that this group of players are not done yet. There is still a lot of fight left in them and a lot of football to be played. We have shown we will be up for the battle.”
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