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It wasn’t offensive – Lee Johnson defends Hibs celebrations after derby goal

Lee Johnson has responded to Hearts’ comments (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Lee Johnson has responded to Hearts’ comments (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Lee Johnson has dismissed Hearts’ claims that Hibernian were guilty of over-celebrating after their last-gasp equaliser in last Sunday’s Edinburgh derby.

There were jubilant scenes inside Easter Road, with a small number of supporters entering the pitch, after Martin Boyle – in his first game back after seven months in Saudi Arabia – struck with the last kick of the game to earn a 1-1 draw in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time.

Hearts defender Toby Sibbick said earlier this week: “They score an equaliser and it’s like they’ve won the league or a trophy. It puts it into perspective where we both are.”

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.”

Asked on Thursday about the comments from across the city, Johnson said: “I certainly won’t apologise for the perception of over-celebrating because it was a good goal for us.

“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.”

Johnson also responded to Neilson’s post-match suggestion that Hibs had been getting ahead of themselves with some of their pre-season talk.

The Hearts boss said on Sunday: “Hibs are talking about how they’re going to do this and do that this season. We came to their patch and we dominated them.”

“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,” said Johnson, speaking at his media briefing ahead of this Saturday’s trip to Livingston. “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.”

Johnson explained that Hibs – who have made 11 signings so far – are unlikely to be adding any further new faces in the current transfer window unless any players depart.

“There will probably have to be a couple of outs if there are to be any ins now,” he said. “We’ve probably just tickled over the budget for where we are and where we need to be. But in saying that, we’re always open and there’s always a little room for manoeuvre.”