SURVIVAL THE AIM FOR STEVENSON
Survival is midfielder Lewis Stevenson's sole focus as Scottish Cup finalists Hibernian return to Clydesdale Bank Premier League action against Kilmarnock on Sunday.
Stevenson has agreed a one-year contract extension until the end of the 2012/13 season, triggered by an appearance target in his current deal, which was due to expire this summer.
The 24-year-old hopes he will still be an SPL player next season, with his primary concern Hibs' relegation battle with Dunfermline rather than the tantalising prospect of a May 19 William Hill Scottish Cup final with capital rivals Hearts.
Hibs lead the Pars by seven points entering this weekend's fixtures and next month will have the chance to end a 110-year wait for Scottish Cup glory.
"We've got five more important games that we need to focus on," Stevenson said.
"It (the cup final) is at the back of everyone's mind just now. First and foremost we've got to focus on the league.
"We're in the driving seat but it can change so quickly.
"There have been so many ups and downs this season we know we have to perform every week.
"It's only seven points. Teams in the bottom six can go on a run and could win every game.
"We're going to go into every game and hopefully take as many points as we can.
"We're hitting a good run just now and it's the perfect time with the final games of the season and the cup final at the end."
Stevenson is available again after missing the Scottish Cup semi-final through suspension as goals from Garry O'Connor and Leigh Griffiths earned a 2-1 win over Aberdeen.
Stevenson, who joined Hibs aged 14, added: "So many emotions go through you. It's harder to watch than it is to play sometimes.
"It was a great day. Hopefully it's going to be another good day at the end of the season."
Despite being praised by manager Pat Fenlon and others for his performances this term, Stevenson knows he is not guaranteed an immediate return to the team on Sunday.
He said: "They got the win and there's good quality throughout the squad. You can never rest on your laurels. You always have to perform every day in training."
Dunfermline play at St Mirren on Saturday and Hibs' advantage could be reduced to four points ahead of the Killie clash at Easter Road 24 hours later.
Fenlon will await the result from Paisley with interest, but is concerned only by events within his control at Hibs.
He said: "I'm only worried about what happens here and I'll try to make sure we get ourselves over the line."
As for the cup final, Fenlon is far from distracted by the first all-Edinburgh showpiece since 1896.
"We've got a bigger game on Sunday, as far as I'm concerned," the Irishman, who succeeded Colin Calderwood as boss last November, said.
"The job that I was brought here to do was to make sure we stay in the league. Anything after that is a plus.
"I'm only really worried about making sure we do that. That's been the focus for me from the start.
"We've got too many important games. We've got to make sure that the club is in the Premier division come the end of the season, that's all that really matters.
"If we're not in the Premier division we've got serious problems. That should focus the minds."
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