The Frenchman has been one of the league’s best players since the World Cup break with five goals and three assists in 11 games. He netted a double in Saturday’s 4-1 success at Livingston. Would Johnson be keen to make his loan deal from Swiss side St Gallen permanent? “Yes” was the reply.
The Hibs boss paid tribute to work in training Youan has done to make himself undroppable. He also offered some understanding as to why fans are now seeing the best out of him. “I thought he had a good start in terms of impact and assists early on in the season,” he said. “That speed in behind elongates the pitch to allow other good footballers to be able to be in pockets to receive. I think he has always added value. He then lost his way a little bit in my opinion, lost a bit of confidence, probably lost a little bit of trust in the group. He has worked really hard during that World Cup break and in training to secure a first-team place. Pretty much from that first game I've never thought of taking him off in terms of key moments in games.
"I think it is a flag in terms of the foreign players. They do take time to settle. Don't sign a foreign player and expect them to hit the ground running on day one. There is a lot in this league which is unique, as brilliant as it is. The pitches, stadiums, expectation to get the ball in the box, very different tempo. I actually think he is flourishing under those conditions at the moment.”
Johnson admitted Tuesday's memorial service for Ron Gordon, the club's chairman who lost his battle with cancer last month, is going to be “tough” but believes the necessary respect will be paid ahead of Wednesday’s Premiership clash with Rangers.
He said: “I can't control anything outside of Hibs but at the same time I know our fanbase, through the messages I've seen, the encouragement to the team, through the flowers, the cards, the online stuff we've done, I know it will be observed perfectly.”