LEWIS STEVENSON has admitted that May’s historic Scottish Cup triumph was the only thing that could have made up for the disappointment of Hibs’ failure to win promotion last season.
But the full-back is desperate to avoid the need for a pick-me-up again this season – insisting Hibs can target cup success as well as the league title.
Hibs will return to Hampden next month to face Aberdeen in their Scottish Cup semi-final as they bid to repeat their triumph over Rangers last term.
But Stevenson is adamant their immediate sights are trained on cementing their place at the top of the Championship when they face third-placed Dundee United at Tannadice on Friday night.
The 29-year-old said: “The cup will take care of itself. The manager has said the league’s the priority and he’s right. That has to be the focus.
“That’s been the hardest thing, to win over 36 games. I’d rather have the league than the cup, 100 per cent.
“You need to be a good team to be in the running for both and, so far, we’ve got a chance of winning both.
“We remember how we felt after the play-offs. It was hard to take and the only way to pick ourselves up was winning the cup.
“This season it feels even more important to win promotion.”
Hibs know they could take great strides towards a return to the Premiership if they can defeat United and go nine points clear of Falkirk.
In the corresponding fixture in December, the Tangerines emerged with a 1-0 victory that put them firmly back in the title hunt – only for Hibs to go on a 13-match unbeaten run.
It was a sequence that included a 3-0 victory over United in January and Stevenson would love a repeat of that display and result.
He added: “If we do win we would go 10 points clear of them but if we don’t win it could be one point within a couple of weeks.
“We’re trying not to look too much into things like that and we’re focusing on winning a game.
“It’s been four games since we won in the league, and that’s not good enough if we’re going to win a title.
“The so-called big games seem to get the best out of us. But if you’re going to win a league you have to win games week-in, week-out.
“Even if we don’t play well we need to find a way to win games.
“That will be the case in this game. I don’t care how we win, as long as we do win.”