The Villans scored five goals without reply in a slick, clinical performance with the Easter Road side unable to really lay a glove on their English opposition, with next week’s return leg at Villa Park likely to be a formality for the hosts.
"First, I’m still proud of the club for being at this level on this stage. The reality is we have an English League 1 budget against a fantastic, multi-international standard Aston Villa. It was clear there was a gulf in class, I can’t deny that,” Johnson said.
"The players are gutted in there. At half-time we wanted to salvage some pride and look like we were going to go and win the half. We started it pretty well and got behind them, but that’s the difference – one break, one poor positional error, one quality pass and a great finish. Against Premier League teams, you can’t make positional errors because they get punished.
“We wanted to show up better than we did but sometimes you have to hold your hands up and admit there is a gulf in class and athleticism, and try to go again. Our bread and butter has to be the league and cup competitions but we get another experience at Villa Park next week."
Villa manager Unai Emery said: “We had to be respectful of Hibs. They deserve to be here and if we weren’t competitive, disciplined, and serious, we could have had problems. We spoke before about how we had to be focused and consistent. We knew if we weren’t we could have lost. We were focused and disciplined and consistent for 90 minutes. That’s the mentality I want to create here.”
Asked about his captain John McGinn, the Spaniard added: “I know you love him here more than I do, but I think he is amazing. He always wants to run and to be competitive from the first to the 90th minute. I am very happy with him. And not only as a player, as a person too. His commitment is very high. He is always positive, always smiling. In bad moments, in good moments, he keeps the same mentality.”