From a Hibs perspective, Lewis Stevenson is the ultimate 'he doesn't speak much, but when he does, people listen' guy.

The quiet man of Leith bowed out of Easter Road with appearance number 600 on Wednesday night, lapping up the adulation alongside Paul Hanlon. And while he's come to terms with the reality that now is the right time for his Hibs career to end, he has a message about the decision not to offer his old pal another contract.

"I think it's a big mistake," says Stevenson, with a half glance towards a club press officer, as though he's just said something hugely controversial. "He’s shown the last few games how good he can be. A left centre-half is very hard to come by, and he’s still playing as well as he’s ever done. Anyone watching that game, any potential suitors, he’s going to be getting a few offers next season.

"Outside the Old Firm – and obviously he’s not going to go to Hearts – there’ll be plenty teams looking at him. He’s maybe playing with nothing to lose. But even the Aberdeen game there, we got beat 4-0 and I still think he was the best player on the pitch. Maybe I’m being biased – he’s my old pal and I’ve played a lot of games with him – but he’s still got a lot to offer, and I’m sure somebody’s going to get a good left centre-half, which are hard to come by."

Both Hanlon and Stevenson fell out of favour under the now-departed Nick Montgomery. Stevenson, at least, can hold his hands up and acknowledge the form of Jordan Obita, an outlier in consistency this season, but Hibs have looked far from secure at centre-back.

READ MORE: What David Gray said after Hibs bounce back from Dons rout

Perhaps for fear of looking a little crass, Hanlon was reluctant to discuss the prospect of Hibs coming back to the table now that Montgomery had gone, but did say that leaving was never his desire, or decision. In any regard, he suggested it could now be too late for anything to change, and that would make Wednesday evening's big farewell under the Easter Road lights as the final time both men will take to the pitch in Hibs colours.

An atmospheric fog quite literally swept over the stadium in the build-up to kick-off, and it created an almost cinematic feel to what was always destined to be an emotional evening. Hibs, under the watch of now four-time caretaker manager David Gray, rallied from a weekend humiliation by Aberdeen to see off Motherwell by three goals.

Afterwards, Hanlon and Stevenson, soundtracked by Sunshine on Leith and with their families in tow, took one last lap of the pitch as thousands stayed behind to show their appreciation. As their team-mates watched on, Stevenson's message is that he hopes it offered those who have only known hard times at Hibs a glimpse of something different, something achievable if they can deliver success on the pitch.

“The boys were saying it honestly felt like a movie with the fog!" said Stevenson. "It felt really nice. I didn’t really know what to expect after the last 48 hours, it’s been pretty mental at the club. I was a bit worried it was just going to peter out to nothing, but the boys put on a performance – not just for us, for everyone, because we all needed it.

“The appreciation we got at the end, the support… thank you to the fans, they’ve been through everything with us, it was an emotional night. There’s boys who have been here a while and that shows a glimpse of how special this club can be.

“Me and Paul spoke after the game and said: ‘Listen, that can galvanise people, galvanise the club.’ Hopefully, things start going in the right direction because if people get a glimpse of that slight bit of success at this club, it’s a special place to play football.

READ MORE: Hibs instant analysis - Hanlon and Stevenson get victorious farewell

“The fans want something to cheer about, and if we can do that on the pitch it’s a special place to be. The last few years have been a rollercoaster and I feel really bad because there’s boys in that changing room that give everything for this club.

“The staff are unbelievable, on and off the field, they put everything into this club and things just haven’t clicked. We’ve been unlucky at times and made a lot of excuses, but it’s an amazing club and fanbase.

“Believe me, I do think it’s going in the right direction, it feels like a massive club, it’s just the performances on the pitch that aren’t quite getting there. I’m sure we’ll get it right at some point. Me and Paul might not be here, but we’ll be the biggest supporters and we want this club to do well."