Hibs boss Lee Johnson has revealed that he is looking for ways to improve the team’s reaction to “plot twists”.
The Easter Road side were a goal ahead against St Johnstone last week and pushing for a second goal, when the sending off of Kyle Magennis derailed their efforts. Two goals for the visitors gave St Johnstone three points and left Johnson disappointed bu how his side had played after the red card.
He thinks the team struggles on occasion to deal with moments of adversity like that and thinks that tackling that specific weakness could help the side improve.
“One of the challenges for us is the plot twist,” he said. “When there is a bit of a plot twist in a game, we have to react better than we do.
“I think this could be something that has happened to Hibs quite a lot in the past. It’s how we improve that is the challenge.
“You can obviously do it by the quality of individuals, which we are trying to nurture, our younger players. It can be decision-making on the day, it can be team spirit.
“There are so many factors that enable a team to cope with a plot twist in a particular game.
“It’s something I want to look at because I don’t think we have done it particularly well. At times we have done it well, gone one down and come back a couple of times.”
Johnson believes that the mental side of the game is hugely important and that psychology is something that can be developed within the squad and individuals.
“There are scenarios in training you can work on – you can work on being a player down or a player up. You can work on bad refereeing decisions,” he said.
“I actually think that’s the way forward in football. People ask ‘what’s next’ in football. I think it’s the psychology to match the moments in games.
“We always talk about momentum but nobody can really describe how you swing momentum.
“You might be playing against someone that’s peppering you for 90 minutes, they score and the next five minutes the team that hasn’t had the ball for 90 per cent of the time suddenly bombards the box. What is that? That’s just a mindset.
“I think working on different solutions to the mental scenario at that particular time, I think is the way forward in football. The best players and coaches will be able to fast-track these moments and swing them to their advantage.”
The manager, who is preparing his side for the visit of St Mirren on Saturday, says he has experienced players and strong characters within the squad, and he can call on them to help shift the mindset when the team needs it.
“It’s experience, experience as a group, coming through adversity, having that tool box to be able to cope,” he said.
“You imagine great leaders in great teams leading by example and grabbing a game by the scruff of the neck. Everyone’s different.
“Some players will take the ball in front of 55,000 at 5-0 down and other players will smash somebody with a big tackle to get the crowd going.
“You have to bring your best as a player and not be knocked by something that has gone wrong and recognise that, and organise. And I think we have that in the squad. We have it in the building, we just have to fine-tune it.”
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