'Popped a few stitches': Jamie McAllister admits Hibs could have made it easier for recovering manager against Kilmarnock

Hibs assistant manager Jamie McAllister admitted that his players made life uncomfortable for their boss Lee Johnson despite recording a 1-0 win over Kilmarnock in the cinch Premiership.

Hibs' Ewan Henderson and Kilmarnock's Ryan Alebiosu tussle for possession during Hibs' 1-0 win over Kilmarnock.
Hibs' Ewan Henderson and Kilmarnock's Ryan Alebiosu tussle for possession during Hibs' 1-0 win over Kilmarnock.

An early strike from Joe Newell, on the back of a red card to Kilmarnock’s Ash Taylor for bringing down Martin Boyle when through on goal, settled matters at Easter Road, but the visiting ten men made life very uncomfortable for Hibs, who themselves missed a number of good chances.

With Johnson resting at home following gall bladder surgery earlier this week, McAllister was in temporary charge and believes Hibs should have managed the game better.

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“I think we had 25 shots on goal and dominated but it was that quality in the final third that let us down,” said McAllister. “We should have been out of sight and should have managed the game better.

Jamie McAllister issues instructions from the touchline during the 1-0 victory over Kilmarnock
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“It was a great three points, a good win and we’re still undefeated at home this season so you have to take the positives.

When asked if Johnson was in touch from his sofa, McAllister replied: “I think he’s popped a few stitches. He was on the phone to David Gray [fellow coach] constantly through the game.

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“Final third, we got in some great areas and created some good chances but it was just that final pass or execution in the final third to get the second goal and be comfortable. We were always giving them a chance when we were 1-0 and they were throwing caution to the wind with ten men, catching us on the counter.”

McAllister had to talk Johnson out of coming into Easter Road on matchday, given he was rushed into the operating theatre on Thursday. "He was talking about coming for the game,” said McAllister. “He texted me on Saturday morning saying he felt a lot better. I told him to stay away and I'd see him next week! His health is the most important thing and he looks after himself."

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Hibs gave a debut to striker Harry McKirdy in the second half and McAllister reckons it will take the deadline-day signing from Swindon Town some time to adapt to Scottish football. “I thought showed some flashes but I thought he found the tempo and intensity faster than what he thought,” McAllister added. “It takes time to adapt to that and the physicality.”