He played in a 7-0 stuffing by Malmo and a 5-1 Scottish Cup final defeat by Hearts. Heaven knows there have been days when Lewis Stevenson felt embarrassed while wearing a Hibs shirt.
But when he blushes now, it is likely to be because he is being reminded of his status as one of Hibs’ most decorated players.
Indeed, he stands alone as the first player in the club’s 141-year history to win both the League Cup and Scottish Cup. He has now earned more cup-winning medals for the club than the Famous Five and Turnbull’s Tornadoes combined
It is one in the eye for those bona-fide club legends who queued up to criticise the players after such low moments as Malmo and losing so heavily to Hearts at Hampden four years ago.
Stevenson was sometimes used as a symbol of the club’s troubles. A decent, committed player, he was held up as not quite good enough to take Hibs to the next level.
He’s now had the last laugh. On Saturday he helped take Hibs to a level they haven’t reached since 1902 – Scottish Cup winners. Now 28, he has completed another solid season at full-back, rarely letting anyone down.
He might not have been man of the match against Rangers on Saturday, as he was when earning a League Cup winner’s medal in the 5-1 win over Kilmarnock nine years ago. But he was his same assured-self during the historic win.
“It’s mad,” he said. “There are players ten times better than me who have played for Hibs without winning this – or even winning any trophies, in some cases. To win the League Cup and Scottish Cup is unbelievable for me.”
He has only become aware this week that he is unique in this respect. Despite the fact he has played over 300 games during ten years of first-team football for the club, he doesn’t feel as if he has earned two winner’s medals.
He has now played in five finals in total.One of them was an all-out disaster, but he has finished on the winning side two times out of five, which for a side mocked for bottling big games, isn’t so bad. “I actually feel lucky,” said Stevenson. “I mean I know I’ve been here long enough to compete for cups often enough. Now to actually go and win this one, is unbelievable. But I’ve been very fortunate to play in five cup finals with Hibs. To come away with two trophies is something that makes me feel very lucky.”
It isn’t Stevenson’s style to blast back at anyone. But he is quietly satisfied that Hibs’ Scottish cup win has given the current squad something to point to when others question their worth.
Hibs players have often had to endure brickbats thrown at them by not only pundits, but also Easter Road greats.Have any been in contact since Saturday’s success?
“We’re not in much contact with them, except for seeing them in the paper telling us what we’re doing wrong,” he said. “They are entitled to that, they’re legends at the club. I’m sure they would have loved to have been in our shoes at Hampden on Saturday because, as soon as you join this club, you are dying to win the Scottish Cup. They will be as happy as we are.”
A quietly-spoken individual, Stevenson’s consistent run in the team has been remarkable given the amount of managers he has served under. More often than he’d like he has had to start impressing new managers all over again. It’s fair to say he has earned Alan Stubbs’ approval – and Stubbs has earned his.
“He has played a big part in my career over the couple of seasons he’s been here,” said Stevenson. “I’ve enjoyed my football more than at any other stage in my life. Hopefully, he will stay for as long as possible after this success. We need continuity now. It would be nice to have a gaffer for more than two years. I think the manager now must be the longest serving I’ve had in my time at the club. I would love him to stay another few years and get us up where we belong.
“Is he the best I’ve ever worked with? I never like to say that in case I hurt one of the other managers’ feelings!
“But he’s been brilliant for me, brilliant for the team. Even the football we play, it’s been a lot easier on the eye than we had been before he came. Look, he’s just won the Scottish Cup, so I’ve kind of got to say he’s the best manager I’ve ever worked with!”