Amid the fluctuating fortunes of Hibs and the various managers who have roamed the dugout over the last eight years, Lewis Stevenson has remained a wholly reliable constant in the club’s recent history.
And, following yesterday’s news that the versatile defender had signed a new two-year contract, Stevenson’s service to the Leith outfit is on course to reach the rare milestone of a decade as a first-team player.
The 25-year-old Fifer made his debut under Tony Mowbray in a League Cup win at Ayr United in September 2005. And after 135 starts, six managers, 2007 League Cup final glory (a career highlight that saw him named man of the match against Kilmarnock), last season’s Scottish Cup humiliation to Hearts and dalliance with relegation, the 25-year-old has crammed a fair bit into his life with the club.
“I have enjoyed it. I’ve had ups and downs but, for the most part, I’ve enjoyed it,” said Stevenson, who is looking to make his 26th appearance of the season at Motherwell this evening.
“I’m delighted to stay longer at Hibs. It’s been good. I’ve been signing one-year deals, so it’s nice to have a two-year deal. It didn’t take much persuading to sign.
“It’s funny. I came when I was 14 and, if someone was to tell me I would still be playing here at 25, I would not have believed them. I’ll need to find a photo of when I first moved to see what I was like. “There is only Tam and Joyce McCourt [the Hibs husband-and-wife kit team] still here from when I first joined.
“Hibs are part of my life now. When I first came, Hibs was just the team from over the water that you watched on the television a few times. A third of my life I’ve been signed on a contract with Hibs.
“I’ve settled in Edinburgh. I’ve been living here for three years now. Sometimes people think it’s better to leave Hibs, then they struggle to get another team.”
Asked if he considered that he would be eligible for a testimonial in 2015 if was to see out his new deal, modest Stevenson replied: “I can’t see me having a testimonial, even if I played 30 years. I’m not the type of person to get a testimonial.
“It’s nothing that’s really appealed to me. Maybe when I’m 35, not 25, I’ll start thinking about testimonials. If the club want to keep me, I would want to stay here as long as possible. Times can change and you never know what will happen. I’m delighted to be here and I’m happy to stay another two years.”
There were moments when Stevenson did not think his Hibs future looked so rosy, however, most notably during the 2009-10 campaign when he made just 12 appearances under then manager John Hughes.
He added: “There have been times in the past when I thought about leaving when I wasn’t playing. I must have signed a contract with every manager, which is strange. I’ve found myself out the team at times and had to prove myself. I’ve proved myself a few times now and that must be testament to myself.
“The club have treated me well over the years so, as soon as I was offered the new contract, I took it. It’s a big club and I don’t see any reason why I should move. You become a fan of the club. Even when you’re not playing. There is nothing more I want than the club to do well. I love the club, it means a lot to me and it always will.”
Hibs boss Pat Fenlon, who has previously admitted that leading goalscorer Leigh Griffith’s off-field antics have given him headaches, insists that quiet and unassuming Stevenson is a manager’s dream.
He said: “He comes in and does his work, you would not know he was there.
“But when he goes on to the park, you definitely knows he is around.
“He can go and play in so many positions for us as well, which is a boost when you don’t have a big squad. He is what you want. His attitude and desire to play at the same level is what you want.
“There is no managing Louey, he gets on with it and does his work.
“But I don’t think you would want a squad of Lewis’ because nobody would talk then. He says very little, as you all know.
“Squads are made up off all different types of character, but he is one that you could do with a few more of.”