New Hibernian defender Stephen Whittaker targeting second place

Steven Whittaker is targeting a second-place finish on his return to Easter Road
Image: Steven Whittaker has signed a three-year deal with Hibs after leaving Norwich City

New Hibernian defender Stephen Whittaker has backed Neil Lennon's squad to finish runners-up in the Scottish Premiership.

The Scotland full-back - back in Leith a decade after leaving for spells with Rangers and Norwich - feels his old club are ready to make their mark on the top flight after a three-year absence.

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The 33-year-old, who is set to finish his career back where it started after agreeing a three-year deal, believes Lennon's men can follow up last year's Championship triumph by pipping the likes of Aberdeen and Hearts to second place this time around.

He said: "It's a squad that is on the up. They have had two successful seasons and there is a good feeling about the club.

"The manager has come in and demanded high standards so we will look to carry that on this season.

"I think (second place) is something we need to aim for, something we need to believe we can achieve. We can't go in thinking we're going to be mediocre.

"We'll be expecting the best from ourselves and hopefully we'll get the best possible outcome that we can.

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Hibernian's Steven Whittaker
Image: Whittaker is happy to play anywhere along the back line this season

"There's no chance the manager will let us slack and we'll keep trying to produce."

Whittaker's favoured position is right-back but, knowing captain and Scottish Cup goal hero David Gray is ahead of him in the queue, he has told Lennon he is happy to adapt.

"Depending on the opposition, the manager knows I can fill in along the back four or in midfield if needs be," he said.

"So we will just wait and see what that brings. I'm just happy to be back playing and wherever that is I'll get on with it."

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