JACK ROSS is adamant Lewis Stevenson still has a pivotal part to play in Hibs’ campaign despite the emergence of wonderkid Josh Doig.
Doig, 18, has usurped the Easter Road legend in the opening weeks of the campaign and teed up Christian Doidge’s winner against Dundee United on Tuesday night as the capital club maintained their 100 per cent record.
Stevenson has seen off a swathe of foes for the left-back berth in more than a decade as a first-team regular but now appears to have genuine competition from the talented teen.
However, head coach Ross insists it is far too early to write off the experienced defender and believes he still has plenty to offer on the pitch – AND as a mentor for Doig.
He said: “By his own admission, Lewy was a bit up and down in pre-season but he’s still a big part of what we’re doing here.
“He’ll play a big part this season and he’ll be a massive help for Josh [Doig] as well.
“He’s won both domestic cup competitions with the club and achieved promotions, his temperament is brilliant.
“To bang out the number of games that Lewy has – he’s not that far off 500 games – is remarkable. He’s been here that long that I played against him a lot before I retired!
“To achieve what he has done in terms of tangible success is brilliant, and he’s made that progression from academy player to the first-team.
“He’s a brilliant help for me off the pitch with Josh – but I don’t want to take away from the contribution he can still make on the pitch.”
Doig’s promise was further underlined in midweek as he played the full 90 minutes in a hard-fought 1-0 win over Dundee United, showing admirable maturity and versatility to play left-back in a 4-4-2 for 45 minutes before shining as a wing-back when Ross switched to a 3-5-2.
And Ross believes the youngster who joined Hibs from city rivals Hearts last summer, is getting his ‘game-legs’.
He continued: “Josh played the first half as a full-back and the second half as a wing-back, which underlines his understanding of two different roles. He’s growing in each game.
“He is finding his game-legs at this level because he is still very young and it’s different playing in the intensity of these fixtures.
“Josh is getting there and the fact he lasted the full game against United is brilliant because he’ll grow that belief.”