Lewis STEVENSON isn’t one who tries to be the centre of attention, the little midfielder reckoned to be one of the quieter characters within the Easter Road dressing-room.
So you could have heard a pin drop when he decided to give full vent to his feelings as he let rip following a miserable first half performance against Kilmarnock, one which had left Stevenson and his team-mates staring at another defeat.
While exactly what the 23-year-old had to say will remain with those four walls, his rant seemed to have the desired effect, a much improved display after the interval rewarded with an equaliser from Leigh Griffiths and a precious point.
Even caretaker boss Billy Brown admitted to being a little taken aback to hear Stevenson “voice his opinion,” but he had nothing but praise for the Kirkcaldy-born star, describing him as “an unsung hero” for the manner in which he then rose to the challenge himself.
Today Stevenson revealed he was now feeling a little sheepish about what took place but insisted he felt he had to have his tuppence worth. He said: “There’s usually a few words flying about at half-time but, to be honest, I usually just sit there, keep my mouth shut and simply try to clear my head.
“But I’m now one of the older players, probably the guy with the longest continuous service at the club and I was very frustrated with my own performance.
“Hearing the fans booing wasn’t right and I felt there were a few things which had to be said.
“It wasn’t getting up on a soapbox or anything like that but I did see a few of the boys turn to look at me. Looking back I’ve been cringing at it but it was heat-of-the-moment stuff.”
Stevenson has no intentions of a repeat at McDiarmid Park tomorrow, although he won’t shy away from speaking his mind again should things not go to plan against St Johnstone, but with a win away to St Mirren and a creditable point gained at Celtic Park, he believes Hibs can make the journey north with a degree of optimism.
He does, however, recognise that it will be a tough match with the Perth ground holding few memorable moments in recent years for Hibs while fully aware new Saints boss Steve Lomas will be looking to mark his first home game with a victory to add to the well-merited point his side gained at Ibrox last weekend.
While Lomas is bedding in at St Johnstone, Hibs’ search for a successor to Colin Calderwood has come to an end, with the Edinburgh club securing Bohemians boss Pat Fenlon on a two-and-a-half year deal.
Stevenson, though, confessed that he and his team-mates had been as much in the dark as their supporters in recent days and just as anxious to discover who their new manager would be.
It’s a scenario Stevenson has become somewhat inured to, the incoming manager being his sixth since he broke into the first team under Tony Mowbray with John Collins, Mixu Paatelainen. John Hughes and Calderwood all following in quick succession.
He said: “As players we just get on with our jobs, on the training ground you tend to forget about things and just concentrate on getting the day’s work done. I’ve been getting texts from friends asking for information but, honestly, all I know is exactly the same as them, only what I’ve read in the papers.
“The fact there’s a bit uncertainty is always at the back of your mind, though, and I’m sure everyone would like to know who the new manager is going to be sooner rather than later.
“In the meantime Billy has been great, he’s treated this as a normal week, preparing for tomorrow regardless of who might be in charge. It can’t be easy for him with all the speculation but he’s been totally unselfish, totally professional and looking to do his best for the club.”
Although a fully committed Hibs player, Stevenson admitted he has a soft spot for St Johnstone, having been a schoolboy signing at McDiarmid Park although, astonishingly, the 16 minutes he got the last time Hibs headed for Perth was his first taste of SPL action on that pitch.
He said: “I always look out for their results because of the time I had there but I’d never had a ‘proper’ game at McDiarmid Park until last March. We got a 1-1 draw that day with a late goal from David Wotherspoon and we know it’s going to be tough again tomorrow. McDiarmid Park hasn’t been the best of hunting grounds for us, there was that 5-1 defeat the other year, and I’d imagine more than a few people won’t expect us to do too well this time.
“But sometimes being the underdog helps. We have to remember back to earlier in the season when they hadn’t lost a goal away from home far less a game and yet we won 3-2.
“They weren’t very happy at the penalty Garry O’Connor won that night but the independent tribunal ruled the referee had got it spot-on.”
Although Hibs top scorer with ten goals, O’Connor hasn’t found the net since netting a double against Saints, a run of seven matches, but Stevenson insisted the Easter Road side shouldn’t just be relying on him and Griffiths for goals.
He said: “We’ve not been scoring as many as we would have like recently but we are needing to get them from all around the team, not just the strikers.
“Saints have also had a few problems in terms of goals, having not scored in their last three games, which might suggest to some there won’t be too many tomorrow. Having said that, I’d be delighted with a seven-goal thriller so long as we come out on the right end of it.”