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Hibernian 2-3 Livingston: Less Jekyll-ing, more Hyde-ing leaves Lee Johnson in trouble

"I think Lee Johnson is in trouble".

So said Sportsound pundit Michael Stewart following Hibernian's feckless Scottish Premiership defeat by Livingston on Saturday.

It's still early days in the 2022-24 season, but with the Leith side rooted bottom of the table with zero points from three games, it isn't difficult to see how the former Easter Road midfielder has drawn that conclusion.

Twenty goals have been shipped in nine games. There's been a defeat by Andorran minnows Inter Club d'Escaldes, a 5-0 tanking from Aston Villa, and consecutive Premiership losses to St Mirren, Motherwell and Livingston.

"They're conceding goals for fun, there's no identity," Stewart added on Sportsound.

With the prospect of another chastening defeat to Villa on the horizon on Thursday, can the Hibs boss turn around a demoralising start to the campaign?

'I can't see why we should keep him'

There was a Jekyll and Hyde nature to Hibs' first few games of the season.

A mortifying loss in Andorra was followed up with an emphatic 6-1 comeback victory. Then defeats by St Mirren and Motherwell bookended an impressive 3-1 first-leg win over Luzern, which ended in a 5-3 aggregate triumph.

A Viaplay Cup quarter-final place was then booked with a hard-fought victory over second-tier Raith Rovers.

But in the last week, there's been less Jekyll-ing and more Hyde-ing. An expected drubbing off Premier League Villa came before Saturday's third straight league loss to Livingston.

Before the weekend, the West Lothian visitors had played 827 minutes of league action on the road without scoring. By the close of play on Saturday, they had scored three at Easter Road.

"I can't see any reason why we should be keeping him on," Hibs fan Stephen Murray said on Sportsound. "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. The performance was horrendous, awful.

"We don't seem to be learning. I don't think he knows his best XI. If it was to transpire that he's sacked, it would be the correct decision."

Johnson calls for 'time' from fans

Johnson's capable of digging himself out of tricky situations. You don't have to look too far back to remind yourself of that. Post-match on Saturday, he even said he's "been here a lot as a manager".

He doesn't tend to rectify things with his words, though. Comments about F1 cars, sharks and lions should probably be parked for now.

But last season's January clash with Aberdeen was billed as contest that could have ended either Johnson or Jim Goodwin's tenures after both managers endured rough runs of form.

In the end, Johnson came out on top with a 6-0 victory and Goodwin walked. The Hibs boss then went on earn a respectable fifth-placed finish. Again, he's backing himself to climb out of another hole.

But a second-leg trip to Villa Park could further erode confidence, with fan pressure mounting and back-to-back visits to Aberdeen and Kilmarnock to follow.

"It's not good enough if I look at the overall start to the domestic campaign, I take full responsibility," Johnson told Sportsound.

"There's no excuse. I'm upset and I'm sad for everyone. I can promise you we work very hard. I hear the grumbles and I accept the grumbles. I just hope the fanbase base allow us the time.

"We're still a new squad. It's not like there hasn't already been success this season. It will settle down as the league goes week-to-week and we can churn out our best XI with full energy."