Lewis Stevenson eyes more Hibs success after 'amazing' testimonial against Sunderland

Hibs' Lewis Stevenson sheds a tear in his testimonial against Sunderland
Hibs' Lewis Stevenson had a lap of honour after his testimonial against Sunderland

Lewis Stevenson thinks Hibernian can compete at the top end of the Scottish Premiership after their promotion and plans sticking around for more success.

A crowd of more than 9,000 attended Sunday's testimonial for the 29-year-old left-back against Sunderland.

"There are going to be a few new faces coming in," he said after the 2-2 draw with the English Championship side.

"But I think we've got the nucleus of a good squad and one that can compete at the top end of the league."

Stevenson has been at Easter Road since coming through the Edinburgh club's youth ranks and played 40 times last season as they won the Championship.

"The club's come on leaps and bounds, everything's in place and, although it's had its ups and downs, I'm sure there's plenty more success in the future and I'd love to be part of that for a few more years," he told BBC Scotland.

'There's a bit of an expectation on us'

Stevenson was in the Hibs side that in 2016 ended the club's 114-year wait to lift the Scottish Cup for a third time - and the League Cup final winning team of 2007.

And he says that returning to the top flight as title winners was as big an achievement.

"The cup wins we've had have been amazing, but equally winning the league last season was my main goal after we got relegated," said Stevenson.

"To be part of a title-winning team is something I'll hold deeply in my memory.

"That's your bread and butter, the league, and it was a great achievement and hopefully we can kick on from there.

"There is a bit of an expectation on us that we are going to start off flying, but it is going to be tough."

Hibs' David Gray and Simon Murray celebrate the latter's goal against Sunderland
New Hibs signing Simon Murray (right) scored in the 2-2 draw with Sunderland

Stevenson was delighted with the attendance against the side relegated from England's top flight.

"I was probably more nervous about today than I was about the cup final," he said.

"It has been amazing and everything I could have dreamed of - a massive turnout from the Hibs fans, which means so much to me."

Stevenson was sent out for a solo lap of honour at the final whistle.

"It felt a bit surreal," he added. "I'm not really one for the spotlight. I wished the boys were at the back of me.

"But it is amazing to see the support that I've had over the years.

"It has been tough at times, but the fans have stuck with me because I know there are a few times that they could have turned their back on me."

Hibs head coach Neil Lennon paid tribute to the long-serving full-back, who has donated the proceeds to charity.

"He wouldn't have enjoyed even the walk around at the end because that's not Lewie - he is very quiet, reserved, a manager's dream," he said.

"I think he's worked under nine managers here and been first pick under every one of them. That tells you a lot about the quality of the player, his temperament and his ability."

Lennon thought the workout against Sunderland, now managed by Simon Grayson following the departure of David Moyes, was ideal ahead of this weekend's opening League Cup tie against Montrose.

"I thought it was a great game," he added. "I was really pleased with the quality of the performance from our players against very good opposition.

"It was a very competitive game, very exciting and both goalkeepers got worked a lot."

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