BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Alan Stubbs insists he would love to have a team packed with Lewis Stevensons – as the left-back prepares to make his 300th appearance for Hibernian.
The versatile left-back made his Hibs debut in 2005 as a raw 17-year-old and is remarkably now in his 11th campaign as a first-team player with the capital club.
The dependable 28-year-old missed out on his third century of outings for the Easter Road outfit against Alloa at the weekend because of suspension but has featured in all of the other 32 matches the club has played this season.
He was handed a new two-year deal last summer to continue his love affair with his only senior side and head coach Stubbs has heaped praise on the stalwart, who has survived seven changes of manager in his time at Hibs.
Confirming Stevenson will turn out against Morton, Stubbs said: “Lewis will play tomorrow and he will get his 300th game.
“That is something that is becoming rarer and rarer in football. With the amount of money and, unfortunately, managers changing as well, it is not very often that you speak about a player making 300 appearances at one club.
“Lewis has probably stood the test of time and, when he has had some amount of managers and the opinions those managers have as well, for him still to be here tells you something about him as a player.
“They have all seen something in him and I can see what and understand why.
“He has been an absolute pleasure to coach since I have been here and he is a brilliant lad. He doesn’t say much but he is one of the nicest guys you will ever come across in football.
“And, if you could, you would probably have 11 of him because he is a nice guy but he is also a brilliant pro.
“He reminds me of Paul Scholes. Neither like doing the media and they are not really comfortable in the spotlight. He would shy away from that kind of stuff but will do it if he needs to.
“Everyone asks if we have anything in store for Lewis for the Morton game but I don’t think that would be Lewis.
“He will want to play it down as just another game, just a number, and the best thing we can do is get three points for him.”
Another three points will not only cut the gap to Rangers at the top of the Championship to five points but also help enhance the managerial reputation of Stubbs, whom former Celtic striker John Hartson has hailed as a replacement for Ronny Deila at Parkhead.
However, Stubbs, who has repeated his wish that top scorer Jason Cummings agrees the new deal he has been offered, has shrugged off the link and insists he is only focused on returning success to Hibs.
He added: “What John had to say probably summed up my and John’s relationship – we go back quite a bit. I can’t comment on that type of stuff, that’s John’s personal opinion.
“If I keep winning games of football there’s going to be speculation; it’s part and parcel.
“I don’t want to turn round and say I want to stop it, because that means I want to be losing games of football.
“I’ve said all along I’m ambitious – I was ambitious as a player. But my ambition right now is to do something well here.
“I’m not looking too far ahead, at all. I don’t look into the future and think ‘if we win this it could lead to this’.
“I’ve got to say I’m very happy with what I’m doing. I want to achieve something here.
“We’ve put the foundations in place to try and take the club forward and we’re on the right path, without achieving anything just yet.
“There’s a long way to go, but we are making good strides, I would say.”