Stevenson warns Hearts of Ayr threat

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Hibs lost their Scottish Cup fourth round replay at Somerset Park in January, whilst Inverness Caledonian Thistle were beaten there last month as Ayr progressed to tomorrow’s Scottish Communities League Cup tie with Hearts.

Stevenson, a former Ayr player, is conscious of the threat posed by his old club given the scalps they have claimed in 2011. Ayr may sit bottom of the First Division but the midfielder stressed no-one at Hearts should dismiss them.

“It’s obviously exciting to come back because Ayr have a good team at the moment and we have seen first-hand that they have been able to knock out a few SPL clubs recently, like Hibs and Inverness,” he said.

“Coming to Somerset on a Wednesday night will obviously be a hard game but it is one that I am looking forward to. I can’t wait to come back and play at Somerset again. When I left I never got to say bye to the fans which was disappointing.”

Stevenson believes the period spent with Ayr was the most crucial of his career, for it helped shape him into a player fit for the SPL.

“Playing at Ayr was the best three and a half years of my life and helped shape me into the player and person that I am today,” he continued. “Playing for Hearts is obviously amazing because of the stature of the club but playing for the team I supported as a boy and having the rapport that I had with the fans while at Ayr was fantastic.

“Every time I pulled on an Ayr shirt I was very proud. It is a club that I love, will always love and will continue to support. It was a privilege to play for Ayr United.”

Reid revealed that he regularly uses Stevenson’s progress as an example to his own players. “Stevo’s a good lad,” said the Ayr manager. “I tell my players there is plenty you can do to progress and Ryan is an example of this.”