Alasdair Strokosch's converted try at the death saw Scotland snatch an unlikely 30-29 victory over the Azzurri in the quadrangular series third-place play-off match in Pretoria. Scottish pressure paid dividends as they recovered from a six-point deficit to conjure up a try before the final hooter and hand Greig Laidlaw the chance to win the match with the conversion.
Johnson, while proud to finish the tour of South Africa with a win, was disappointed with the overall performance, and he admitted: "I said before, and I said to the boys, I won't let the scoreboard dictate how I feel about the game. I am not walking away from the fact that we have to do things to improve areas of our game and cannot accept that as a standard."
He added: "Last week I was incredibly proud of the team (in the 30-17 defeat against South Africa). I thought we were the better team but did not get the result. This week we let ourselves down in areas we are trying to take pride in.
"There are fundamental reasons why. We are battered and bruised, but the fact is that we have to acknowledge it was not a good performance.
"I am proud of the fact that we managed to find a way to get ourselves out of trouble. That is the positive, but we have to look at areas - the penalty count, the scrum, the set-piece, defence - areas in which we try to take pride and did not do well."
It was a general feeling echoed by captain Laidlaw, who was happy to have been given the chance to win the game after the hooter had gone in an ill-disciplined performance.
"We talked about the bar being set last week and we wanted to nudge it up," he said. "We are disappointed at the performance but last week was a good performance and we were beaten.
"This week we did cross the line. It took us 80 minutes but we did it. From the players' point of view, we are delighted to win the game. The goal was to end the tour with a win and I am delighted we have done that.
"I always felt we were not going to get beaten. If we stopped giving away penalties I felt that we were penetrating them easily and the message at the end was just 'keep the ball, keep the ball'. They were losing numbers and eventually we wore them down. There was no panic."