Lewis Stevenson has revealed he is delighted to finally see Danny Swanson in a Hibs shirt after waiting years fot him to arrive at Easter Road.
Swanson, a lifelong supporter of the Easter Road club, had been linked in the past with a move to the Hibees, the 30-year-old revealing he once called former boss Alan Stubbs to plead his case. Current head coach Neil Lennon ended that wait, making Swanson his first signing of the summer as the midfielder’s contract with St Johnstone came to an end. Now Stevenson has predicted his new team-mate will soon be getting the fans out of their seats.
“I’ve been a big fan of Danny’s for years,” revealed the club’s longest serving player who will enjoy a testimonial match against Sunderland early next month. “There’s been talk of him coming here for long enough so I am just glad he has finally arrived as the club means a lot to him.”
Such is Stevenson’s admiration for Swanson that he disclosed he was stunned not to see him among the nominations for the Premiership’s player of the year after a season in which he scored 15 goals for Saints.
Stevenson, who was once a youth player at McDiarmid Park, said: “I saw quite a lot of Danny playing last season and every time I saw him I thought he was the best player on the pitch.
“He’s got loads of quality, he scored a lot of goals and had a lot of assists to his name. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t one of the nominations as player of the year.
“Danny will be a great addition to our squad. He’s an unbelievable player, someone who can produce that moment of magic that wins games.”
Swanson will report with the rest of his new team-mates to East Mains on Thursday for the start of pre-season training, joining a squad according to Stevenson that is brimful of confidence and raring to get going after three years of Championship football.
The little left-back said: “Looking forward to it maybe isn’t the right word at the moment given we still have to go through pre-season but once the games start we’ll enjoy it. We’ve had quite a long break this summer so we are champing at the bit and ready to go.
“Last season was positive in the main, the only disappointment was probably not getting to the final of the Scottish Cup again.”
Stevenson admitted he’s a little uncertain as to what the Premiership might hold given Hibs’ lengthy absence from the top flight. He said: “It’s hard to say if anything has changed in the meantime.
“On the outside looking in not much seems to have changed but we’ll only be able to say when the games start. But the one thing we know is it’s going to be hard, every game is going to be tough but we are in the right frame of mind to do it.
“We’ve lived under pressure in the past few seasons, a scalp everyone wanted to take so we know we can handle it.”
Lennon’s players have an early chance to lay down a marker when they meet Ross County in Dingwall in the BetFred Cup although Stevenson was adamant no-one could read too much into the outcome of that game, Jim McIntyre’s side having beaten Hibs in the final of the League Cup the last time they met.
Stevenson said: “It might give us the opportunity to do that but it’s still going to be very early in the season and neither side will be fully up and running. I don’t think you can tell until everyone is a few games in.
“However, we played quite a few Premiership teams in the cups in the last couple of seasons and we acquitted ourselves pretty well. What I can say is that we have a great squad. I know you say that every season, but I can say it and mean it.”