HIBS YOUNGSTER Josh Doig has showered praise on Lewis Stevenson for his ‘amazing’ support – despite him taking the club stalwart’s place in the team.
Doig has started the first four games of the campaign in the left-back slot Stevenson has occupied for much of his 15 years at Easter Road.
The 18-year-old was handed his debut in the opening-day victory over Kilmarnock and has impressed as part of a defence that is yet to be beaten from open play.
The teenager credits a brief loan spell at Queen’s Park last term with boosting his confidence, and is convinced that following a strength and conditioning programme over lockdown has helped him stand up to the physicality of Premiership football.
But the former Hearts youth player, who crossed the city divide just last summer, insists the advice he has been given from his experienced team-mate has been key in his meteoric rise.
He said: “I think most of the young boys will say the same but all of the first-team squad are very approachable and are happy to take time out to help you.
“The same goes for the gaffer, Potts [assistant John Potter] and the rest of the staff at HTC [Hibs Training Centre]. It’s a great environment to help you improve.
“I would like to thank Lewis Stevenson, in particular. Again, everyone always says the same things about Lewis but it’s the truth.
“There’s not a better, hard-working professional anywhere and it’s no wonder he’s achieved what he has for the club.
“I learn a lot just from watching him but he’s been amazing with me – constantly giving me little bits of advice.
“Everyone could see how important he was in the win over Kilmarnock as well when he came on.
“There was one point he threw himself in front of a shot and fine lines like that can make all the difference.”
Doig managed only seven matches after joining Queen’s Park on loan in January, with the coronavirus shutdown bringing a premature end to his stay at Hampden.
But the Scotland under-18 cap believes that taste of first-team football has helped him make the breakthrough back at Hibs.
In an interview in the Hibernian matchday programme, he added: “I’ve probably filled out a bit and a year’s extra experience training alongside the players and staff here has brought me on leaps and bounds.
“I also have to say thanks to everyone at Queen’s Park. Although it was a short loan spell in the end, it gave me the confidence that I could go and compete in senior football and I enjoyed the competitive side of it.
“Being able to play at Hampden was a bonus and hopefully I can get back there sometime soon with Hibs.
“[A loan] is definitely something I’d recommend to any young player. When I got back to training here I felt better equipped to really give it a go.”