Jack Ross insists that Lewis Stevenson’s new Hibs contract is down to what he adds to the squad, and isn’t some sort of long service award.
Veteran left-back Stevenson made his 500th club appearance in the 1-1 draw with Celtic on Monday and the 33-year-old signed a one-year contract extension days later.
But the defender has found himself with stiff competition for his starting spot after Josh Doig emerged as one of the most promising prospects in the league.
Ross acknowledged the battle for the jersey but said that Stevenson had more than earned his deal to challenge for game time.
He said. “I think Lewis wanted to know this: It’s not for sentiment, it’s for football.
“He’s still contributing on the pitch and in and around the training ground on a daily basis. His attitude to work remains as diligent as it’s always been. I think he’s enjoying his football at the moment.
“If anything, having that competition to play at left-back against another young player who has come through our youth system is encouraging for him and something I think Lewis is enjoying. He’s competing against Josh to play but also mentoring him and helping him with his development as well.
“So the decision to offer him a new contract was based on footballing reasons and we’re delighted that he chose to accept it on the back of what has obviously been an incredible week for him in achieving that milestone.”
I want to be playing here as long as possible and the manager said I’m still really in his plans. So I think I still have a fair bit to give and hopefully I can do that.
I’m obviously settled and have been here a while. You still have that doubt though, especially when you’ve not been playing as much as previous seasons. But the manager says I’ve been helping the team and doing well so when they asked me to sign another contract I was delighted to do so.
I think when I’ve played I’ve done well so I’m definitely here as a player and not just as a mentor for Josh. There will be times when I play and times when I’m out of the team so I’ll have to make the most of it.