Lee Johnson apologises to Hibernian fans as nightmare start continues

The 3-2 defeat to Livingston leaves Hibs in 12th place.

Lee Johnson apologises to Hibernian fans as nightmare start continues SNS Group

Under-fire Hibernian manager Lee Johnson apologised to supporters after his side put in an ‘unacceptable’ performance to lose 3-2 to Livingston.

Hibs had been looking for a reaction following their 5-0 defeat to Aston Villa but they fell behind early on as Jordan Obita turned James Penrice’s cross into his own net under pressure from Scott Pittman.

Martin Boyle equalised with a solo strike but goals from substitutes Bruce Anderson and Mo Sangare gave Livingston the win.

Josh Campbell’s late tap-in proved in vain as Hibs succumbed to a third straight league defeat and Johnson said: “I genuinely do apologise because I didn’t want to start like this.

“I was full of beans – I still am – going into the season and this has caught us out a little bit.

“I hope they (the board) stick with me, I really do, because I want to be here. I’d never throw the towel in.

“And I understand there will be fans calling for my head. But I genuinely believe that we’ll do it. I think we’ve got a good squad, I think we’ve had a few issues – and we’ve got to tidy up our defensive stuff.

“It’s unacceptable, I understand that. I’m okay to take responsibility for that knowing I still have belief in the squad.

“I think the squad still believe in us and what we’re doing and are as frustrated as anybody.

“I can understand the scrutiny. I have been here before. It’s not nice. There’s a human there as well and sometimes people forget that.

“We work extremely hard and I just want the positivity in the football club. That focus is on me and I’d rather it was on me than the players.

“It’s small margins and I honestly believe if we see out 10 minutes at 1-1 our momentum takes the game back.

“I’m disappointed because I love it here and I believe in us. But at the same time I’ve experienced this before in my career.”

Livingston manager David Martindale, meanwhile, was full of praise for his side who recorded their first away victory in the league since a 4-2 win over St Johnstone in January.

He said: “I’m really, really happy. I thought the boys were very good within the game. I’ve changed the shape three or four times and it’s not really had a negative impact on the fluidity of the game.

“I felt we created the best chances and had the best scoring opportunities. Martin Boyle scores a really good goal so I’ll take that on the chin.

“The second one is a mistake which comes from us but apart from that I don’t think they threatened our goal a lot in the game, whereas we had Joel Nouble’s one-v-one, we had the penalty shout and we had Bruce Anderson’s chance.”

Livingston’s three goals were also their first away strikes in the cinch Premiership since January and Martindale was delighted with the impact of Anderson and Sangare off the bench.

He added: “Mo (Sangare) goes on and has a fantastic strike. He scored a similar goal for Liberia recently. It’s one of the reasons I brought him into the club.

“And with the second goal, wee Bruce (Anderson) is very good in the air in the box. He’s just a natural goalscorer and he comes alive if you can get the ball into the penalty box, Bruce Anderson is a very, very good striker.”

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