Hibs defender Lewis Stevenson insists he has no complaints about being dropped after admitting that the current squad is one of the strongest he has played in.
The long-serving Stevenson returned to the first XI for Tuesday’s Betfred Cup quarter-final victory over Livingston after losing his place to Steven Whittaker following the home loss to Hamilton.
Stevenson made the breakthrough at Easter Road in a team that included the likes of Scott Brown, Kevin Thomson and Steven Fletcher but reckons current head coach Neil Lennon has assembled arguably an even better group of players.
“We have two Scottish internationals (John McGinn and Whittaker), an Israeli one (Ofir Marciano), and two Lithuanians (Vykintas Slivka and Deivydas Matulevicius) and Efe (Ambrose) is on the brink of a Nigeria call up as well.
“And Paul Hanlon is maybe not far away from a Scotland call up.
“When I first came in it was obviously a strong squad but I think this is as strong as we have had.
“There is competition for places but the squad is only as strong as our performances at the weekend so I will tell you next summer how strong it really is.”
Stevenson is renowned for being a low-maintenance player, so the left-back admits there was no way he would be knocking on Lennon’s door to find out why he had been demoted.
He added: “No, I’ve never done that with any manager I have had.
“You do your work on the training ground and that’s where you try to get back into the team.
“I had no complaints about not being in the team. The manager had to make changes after the Hamilton defeat and it could have been any one of us.
“It is not like I was being dropped for just anyone, it was a Scotland international full-back who was coming in.
“I always want to play but sometimes you have to take a spell on the side and, to be fair, the boys played well against St Johnstone and Dundee so I had no qualms about being on the bench for those two performances.”
Hibs will have to knock out holders Celtic if they are to reach the Betfred Cup final but Stevenson is looking forward to the challenge of moving one step closer to picking up more silverware following last year’s Scottish Cup triumph.
He added: “I have been lucky, even when we weren’t doing all that well before, we were still getting to a lot of cup semi finals and finals.
“I have been lucky to have been to Hampden a good few times now. It is nice to be called cup specialists but the league is the priority so that is a bonus.
“We are through to the semi final of a cup and we have only been beaten once so it is more than a decent start to the season. It is a good start to the season and it is something for us to build on.”