Hibernian warned they are making ‘a big mistake’ with Paul Hanlon

Lewis Stevenson feels his team-mate could still make a contribution at Easter Road.

Hibernian warned they are making ‘a big mistake’ with Paul Hanlon SNS Group

Lewis Stevenson fully understands Hibernian’s decision to cut him loose this summer but he feels they are making a huge mistake in allowing Paul Hanlon to leave.

The long-serving veteran duo enjoyed an emotional Easter Road farewell outing in Wednesday’s rousing 3-0 victory at home to Motherwell after the club revealed earlier this month – prior to the sacking of manager Nick Montgomery on Monday – that neither would be having their contracts renewed.

Stevenson, who made his Hibs debut almost 19 years ago, accepts that his time at Hibs is up after he lost his left-back place this term to Jordan Obita.

However, he is bewildered that they are allowing 34-year-old centre-back Hanlon to move on and is adamant that the majority of Premiership clubs outside the top three will be keen on his long-time friend and team-mate.

“I’ve no complaints and I totally understand the club’s position – I’m 36 and they need to move on at some point,” he said of his impending departure.

“But I can probably say this now. I think with Paul it’s a big mistake. He’s shown the last few games how good he can be.

“A left centre-half is very hard to come by, and he’s still playing as well as he’s ever done. Anyone watching that (Motherwell) game, any potential suitors, he’s going to be getting a few offers next season.

“He’s maybe playing with nothing to lose, but even the Aberdeen game (on Sunday), we got beat 4-0 and I still think he was the best player on the pitch.

“Maybe I’m being biased – he’s my old pal and I’ve played a lot of games with him – but he’s still got a lot to offer, and I’m sure somebody’s going to get a good left centre-half.

“Outside the Old Firm – and obviously he’s not going to go to Hearts – there’ll be plenty teams looking at him.”

Stevenson is disappointed to be leaving Hibs at a time when they are looking for yet another manager as they play out the season in the bottom six.

He was relieved that the sense of turbulence around the club did not take the shine off his final Easter Road outing.

Stevenson believes Hibs, with Malky Mackay leading the search for a new boss after being appointed sporting director on Monday, could do a lot worse than hand his 36-year-old former team-mate David Gray – currently in his fourth stint as caretaker – the reins on a permanent basis.

“Dave knows this league really well,” said Stevenson. “He’s played in it, managed in it a few times, and he’s got a decent record when he’s been manager.

“He put on a rousing, emotional speech before the game and the boys gave everything.

“He spoke about me and Paul, and that’s probably the closest I was to tearing up! It was nice, he’s got that in his locker, he’s done it when he’s been manager before.

“It’s a mark of the man that he comes in and does such a professional job, he’s been chucked under the bus at times.

“I think he’s going to be a manager if he keeps getting these small chances, but at some point someone has to give him a job somewhere.

“It’s only been one game this time, but I know he’s going to be a great manager.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code