Ryan Stevenson aims to retain Hearts starting place

Ryan Stevenson celebrates
Stevenson (centre) scored twice after starting against Paks on Thursday

Ryan Stevenson hopes to have played his way into Paulo Sergio's long-term plans after scoring twice in Hearts' Europa League win over Paks on Thursday.

The 4-1 second-leg win over the Hungarians was Sergio's first game in charge after the surprise departure of previous manager Jim Jefferies.

"I was disappointed I didn't play last week or the week before that," said midfielder Stevenson.

"It was important for me to put in a good performance."

Stevenson was signed by Jefferies 18 months ago from Ayr United as a midfielder but has often been used up front.

"I'm happy playing wherever," he said. "If he wants to play me up front, I'm more than happy.

"I was always confident in my own ability to score goals and play well. Nothing's changed with that."

Stevenson was thankful to his former manager and departed assistant Billy Brown for rescuing him from Division Two obscurity.

"If you were telling me this would happen about 18 months ago, I don't think many people would believe you," he said.

"Personally, I was very sad to see Jim and Billy go. I was their first signing at Hearts and I was disappointed on Monday when I heard the news.

"But you've got to give the new manager credit. He came in, it's not his fault this has happened.

"He's a very nice humble man and we're all looking forward to learning the way he wants to play football."

Now Stevenson is hoping he has done enough to start against Motherwell on Sunday in the Scottish Premier League.

"It's been a tough week," he added. "We've always had a hard game down at Fir Park.

"They're a good team with a good manager and some very good players. It will be very hard."