Hibs manager Paul Heckingbottom believes Lewis Stevenson’s longevity at the club is “testament” to his ability and professionalism – and admitted that he wasn’t surprised to learn that he set a new club record with his 39th Edinburgh derby appearance.

Stevenson is the longest-serving player at Easter Road and overtook the iconic Gordon Smith as the man with the most appearances against Hearts to his name.

29th March 2019, Tony Macaroni Arena, Livingston, Scotland; Ladbrokes Premiership football, Livingston versus Hibernian; Stevie Mallan of Hibernian shares a joke with Paul Heckingbottom, Hibernian Manager before kick off

(photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Heck has been really impressed with the left-back since arriving in Leith and thinks the only player to win both main domestic trophies in the club’s history has left a “lasting impact” at Easter Road.

“It’s testament to his ability and professionalism that he’s impressed so many different managers and made such a lasting impact on this football club,” Heckingbottom said, as quoted by The Herald.

3rd April 2019, Easter Road, Edinburgh, Scotland; Ladbrokes Premiership football, Hibernian versus Kilmarnock; Lewis Stevenson of Hibernian and Rory McKenzie of Kilmarnock

(photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

“Already, I’ve seen he’s a great player to be able to call upon in these fixtures because of his experience.

“He plays with that controlled aggression without letting the emotion of the occasion impact on his performance. That’s what you need on those occasions.

“I wasn’t aware of the statistic about his derby appearance but it honestly doesn’t surprise me.”

Stevenson’s record-breaking derby couldn’t have gone much better with a 2-1 win in Gorgie as they ended a six-year wait for a win at the home of their biggest rivals.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JULY 09: Lewis Stevenson of Hibernian applauds the crowd as he walk around the pitch after his testimonial match with Sunderland during the pre season friendly between Hibernian and Sunderland at Easter Road on July 9, 2017 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

The left-back is closing in on his 450th appearance for the Hibees and at only 31 there’s still plenty of time for him to add to that.

He’ll have some way to go to get himself out in front as the player with the most Edinburgh derby appearances with Hearts trio John Robertson (55), Gary Mackay (53) and Henry Smith (47) ahead of him.

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