Hibs veteran Lewis Stevenson reveals what concerns him most ahead of Livingston match
The Easter Road side suffered back to back defeats this week, making it six losses from 28 games in all competitions, and while that remains an impressive record, one that has yielded a Betfred Cup semi final spot and taken them to fourth place in the league as they chase the very realistic target of European competition next term, Stevenson says it is important to restrict such instances.
The experienced full-back has seen promising situations slip through Hibs’ fingers too many times before and says it would be devastating to be part of that again, especially when he sees promise in the current squad.
From seasons when the form in the first half of the campaign was so good that they still qualified for Europe despite recording just three wins from mid-February, to times when mid-table safety seemed a formality only for wins to become an endangered species as the side tumbled down the rankings and through the trapdoor.
Even 2015/16, which was salvaged by the historic Scottish Cup win, had threatened to blow up in their faces as the early season form counted for little as they missed out in the League Cup and failed to secure promotion.
There have been highs during Stevenson’s time at Hibs but there have also been lows and he knows how quickly those blows can rain down if players switch off, which is why he understands the importance of getting back to winning ways against Livingston on Saturday and ensuring the remainder of the season plays out as intended.
“The games are coming thick and fast and we have massive games coming up, not just in the league but the League Cup semi final and we have the Scottish as well. But I have been here before with Hibs, when we have started off the season well and then it all dipped so I’ve got to make sure, along with all the other experienced boys, that it doesn’t happen again and that we don’t let this slip. Successful seasons are few and far between.”
And, while he is not a bold dressing room presence, barking orders or kicking butts, he says he will be ready with cautionary tales, if necessary.
“Aye, if we have a few more games like the one against Ross County!” he states, admitting it was one of those nights where the roar of the Easter Road crowd was missed.
“We could have done with them pushing us on because we were flat in spells and they would have helped give us a buzz. Sometimes you need the fans, you shouldn’t really, but sometimes you do.”
For now, though, the players and coaches are on their own and Stevenson still believes they can get the desired results if they stay focused.
“Everyone knows this but third and fourth place finishes are very hard to come by in this league and we need to make the most of this season because I feel we have a team that can compete at the top end of the table.”
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