Lee Johnson suspects Hibs’ midweek European exertions left them lacking ‘zip’ in defeat at Motherwell.

The Easter Road are now winless in their opening two Premiership matches, succumbing to goals from Connor Wilkinson and debutant Mika Biereth at Fir Park. Johnson’s side were well short of the heights they hit in a stirring Conference League qualifying victory over Luzern on Thursday, with the manager insisting injuries prevented him from making more changes to freshen his team up. Johnson also revealed medical advice dictated he not deploy Martin Boyle from the outset.

“I felt the output of Thursday affected us in terms of the zip,” said Johnson. “The difference in the mental concentration was chalk and cheese in the two performances. The three days apart is a bit of a stretch for us at the moment, we’ve got six first-team starters out and ideally we’d have rotated a little bit more. Levitt, Vente and Boyle are still getting minutes, Boyle was medically ruled out of the start.

"I don’t think the Thursday games are going to be a problem because that extra day recovery is big for us, we just need to keep getting stronger as we develop because the league is our bread and butter, zero points from two games isn’t good enough.

Johnson also found referee Matthew McDermid to be too whistle-happy, insisting it affected the flow of the game.

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“I think the referees have got to go and assess the performance because the ebb and flow to that game was really poor,” he said. “Every bit of contact [was punished], it was too easy to buy a foul. It led to a bitty game.”

Hibs now face a waiting game over the fitness of Josh Campbell and Elie Youan ahead of their second leg in Switzerland on Thursday. Neither player was involved in Lanarkshire and Johnson did not appear overly optimistic about their chances.

"We’d have to ask Josh to do us a favour," said Johnson. "He has an injury to a shoulder joint that needs rest, but he could potentially be there. Elie I don’t know, he’s had a bad back for a few days with no sign of improvement."