Exiled Hibs great wanted by Premiership rivals and play-off hopefuls

Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson are in demand.Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson are in demand.
Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson are in demand.
Hanlon and Stevenson not short of offers

Ditched Hibs captain Paul Hanlon is weighing up offers to take his ability and experience to a Scottish Premiership rival. And the axed skipper has also been asked to team up with fellow Easter Road exile Lewis Stevenson in a new adventure with play-off hopefuls Raith Rovers – still in with an outside shot of making the top flight.

Hanlon and Stevenson were both allowed to leave Hibs when their contracts expired at the end of the season. Although 36-year-old Stevenson said he understood the decision not to offer him a new contract, the fullback – the only player to win both the Scottish Cup and League Cup with Hibs – insisted letting club captain Hanlon go was a “big mistake.”

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Hanlon, still just 34 and a regular starter towards the end of a difficult campaign for Hibs, held off from opening negotiations on a pre-contract agreement while still employed by his boyhood heroes. But he’s been pleasantly surprised by the number of clubs expressing interest in offering him a deal. That interest includes one solid offer from a top-flight side, opening up the possibility of a quick return to Easter Road for Hanlon, who admits he would find it odd to play against Hibs – but is eager to extend his career.

There is also a possibility of Hanlon and Stevenson – with a combined tally of over 1100 games for Hibs – taking their vast experience to Stark’s Park, where former Hibees captain Ian Murray is manager. A Rovers return would be a homecoming to his local club for Kirkcaldy boy Stevenson.

Raith are 2-1 down after the first leg of their Premiership play-off final against Ross County, leaving the tie finely balance ahead of Sunday’s second leg in Dingwall. Hanlon, also a target for Dunfermline, is definitely tempted by the idea of reuniting his partnership with Stevenson - especially if it means staying in the top division.