In a dramatic turn of events, Lee Johnson’s tenure as the manager of Hibernian came to an abrupt end, leaving fans and analysts alike wondering where it all went wrong and who might step in to fill his shoes.
The writing had been on the wall when Sportsound pundit Michael Stewart candidly stated, “I think Lee Johnson is in trouble.” Little did anyone know that within a day, Johnson’s rollercoaster 15-month reign at Hibs would come to an end following a disappointing 3-2 Scottish Premiership defeat to Livingston.
While it’s still early days in the 2023-24 season, Hibernian finds themselves rooted at the bottom of the league table with zero points from three games. The Hibs board made the decision that enough was enough. With twenty goals conceded in just nine games, the defensive struggles were apparent. The team suffered a defeat to Andorran minnows Inter Club d’Escaldes, a humbling 5-0 loss against Aston Villa, and consecutive Premiership defeats to St Mirren, Motherwell, and Livingston. As Sportsound pundit Michael Stewart aptly put it, “They’re conceding goals for fun, there’s no identity.”
The team’s performance during the early part of the 2023-24 season seemed to mimic the Jekyll and Hyde transformation. After a humiliating loss in Andorra, Hibs showcased an emphatic 6-1 comeback win in a Europa Conference League qualifier. There were glimpses of promise with a 3-1 first-leg victory over Luzern, leading to a 5-3 aggregate triumph. The team’s journey to the Viaplay Cup quarter-finals was sealed with a hard-fought victory over second-tier Raith Rovers.
However, the past week saw less of the positive Jekyll side and more of the negative Hyde side. An expected defeat against Premier League Villa in a European tie was followed by a third consecutive league loss to Livingston, a team that had struggled to score on the road for a considerable period.
Fans were vocal about their discontent. Hibs supporter Stephen Murray didn’t hold back, stating, “I can’t see any reason why we should be keeping him on. Everything seems to be going against Hibs, we’re not doing the basics. Johnson got a pass for the Villa defeat, but on Saturday there was no excuse.”
Looking back, Johnson had managed to navigate tricky situations before. Last season’s January clash against Aberdeen was a turning point. Johnson emerged victorious with a 6-0 win, securing his position and leading Hibs to a respectable fifth-place finish. However, this time, the lack of consistency seemed to be his downfall. Former Scotland striker Steven Thompson pointed out that Johnson’s “face never really fitted” at Hibs. Inconsistency and struggles with the defense ultimately cost him the support of fans and, consequently, his position.
As the search for a new manager begins, speculation runs wild about who might take the reins. With a history of eight managers in ten years, the next choice is crucial. Could Neil Lennon, the former Celtic boss who led Hibs to a Championship title and a fourth-place Premiership finish, return to the club? Some pundits believe he would be a “fabulous choice.”
Another potential candidate is Stephen Robinson, the manager of St Mirren. Given his familiarity with Scottish football, Robinson could be a strong contender. Pundit Stephen Craigan argued, “It has to be someone who knows Scottish football.” The Hibernian job is undoubtedly attractive, with its dedicated fanbase, impressive facilities, and the potential for success.
In the end, as Hibernian searches for stability and success, the decision on the next manager will be crucial. The club’s supporters, the team’s history, and the attractive prospects of the job all contribute to the weight of the decision. Only time will tell who will step into the spotlight and take on the challenge of guiding Hibernian to brighter days.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Football Management
What led to Lee Johnson’s departure as the manager of Hibernian?
Lee Johnson’s departure from Hibernian was prompted by a series of disappointing results, including a 3-2 defeat by Livingston and a bottom-of-the-table standing with zero points from three games in the 2023-24 season. The team’s defensive struggles, inconsistency, and lack of identity contributed to the decision.
How did Hibs perform in the early part of the 2023-24 season?
Hibs had a mixed start to the season, experiencing both impressive victories and frustrating losses. They suffered a humiliating defeat to Andorran team Inter Club d’Escaldes but rebounded with a 6-1 comeback win in a Europa Conference League qualifier. There were promising moments, like a 3-1 first-leg victory over Luzern, leading to a 5-3 aggregate triumph.
Who are the potential candidates to replace Lee Johnson as Hibs’ manager?
Neil Lennon, the former Celtic boss who previously managed Hibs, is one potential candidate. Another contender is Stephen Robinson, the current manager of St Mirren, known for his familiarity with Scottish football. Both could potentially bring stability and success to Hibs.
How important is the next manager choice for Hibernian?
The next manager choice for Hibernian holds significant importance, given the club’s history of managerial changes and the desire for stability and success. The attractive prospects of the job, the passionate fanbase, and the impressive facilities make the decision crucial for the team’s future.