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Hibernian’s Lewis Stevenson feeling good at 35 after extending his stay

Hibernian veteran Lewis Stevenson is adamant he remains as fit, strong and sharp as he was during his 20s.

The 35-year-old – a one-club man who sits fourth on the Hibees’ all-time appearance list – this week signed a one-year contract extension keeping him at Easter Road for yet another season.

Stevenson acknowledges he is nearing the end of his career but the marauding wing-back has no plans to take his foot off the gas and is fully focused on continuing to improve aspects of his game under boss Lee Johnson.

“The manager has spoken to me quite honestly about the things he needs me to improve on, and that’s what you need,” he said. “He’s not asking me to be a different player, it’s just little tweaks in my game, and I’ve been trying to do that.

“Even at my age, you can still learn things. I’ve learned from every single manager I’ve had here. I’m maybe a slightly different player now but I do feel I’m as good a player as I was 10 years ago.

“Niggles-wise, I feel as good as I ever have. About eight years ago, I was playing with Achilles problems, groin problems, calf problems but I honestly don’t really have those problems anymore.

“I’m sure there are things I could have done 10 years ago that I can’t do now but vice-versa I think I know the game a lot better now and there are things I’ve improved.

“I feel good just now but I understand it could hit me like a tonne of bricks at some point so we’ll see how long I keep going.”

Stevenson, who made his debut in 2005, feared his long Hibs career was drifting to an end when he found himself playing second fiddle to Marijan Cabraja in the early months of Johnson’s reign, but the veteran has firmly re-established himself as a regular starter since the World Cup break.

“There were times this season, even quite recently, when I thought it might have been the end of my time here,” he said when asked about his new deal. “But I’ve managed to bite down on the gum shield and grind out for another year.

“It’s helped that the team has picked up recently and the manager has showed his faith in me by playing me in recent games when the team has been doing well.”

Stevenson has faced stiff competition from the likes of Josh Doig and Cabraja in recent seasons and he knows there will come a time when Hibs have to cut him loose, but he still feels he has the hunger and ability to make a positive impact.

“It has happened at times, even this season it was probably looking bleak for my future,” he said of losing the left-back jersey to other players. “But things can change.

“I’ve said before that the club needs to evolve, I understand that. But I’ve got a role in the squad, and whether it’s playing or supporting the person playing in front of me, I’ll do that.

“It’s a privilege to be here and I don’t take that for granted. I’m still wanting success and I still feel pretty good and I think I can keep going a bit longer.”