There’s been more than a hint of fairytale about David Gray’s career, but Fraser Fyvie didn’t need a crystal ball to know where he’d turn after the boots were finally hung up.

The Scottish Cup-winning former Hibs midfielder always felt his ex-team-mate and long-time friend had the makings of a fine coach. Intelligent, driven, personable, authoritative – all qualities Fyvie saw in Gray from the moment he arrived on Leith in 2015.

The two quickly became friends, and will be reunited at Easter Road on Sunday for Gray’s testimonial between a Hibs XI and a Manchester United XI. Gray’s career began in the Old Trafford academy, and even included a single first-team appearance, before winding a road to Leith, where he cemented his place in club history with that Hampden goal against Rangers in 2016.

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Keen to retain his services when Gray decided to retire in 2021, Hibs offered him a coaching position, and these days you’ll find him providing valuable counsel to Nick Montgomery, a role Fyvie expects he will excel in.

“I always felt he would go down that route,” said the 30-year-old, now playing for Cove Rangers in League One. “He was always in speaking to the likes of John Doolan, who was a coach at the time, and he was close with Alan Stubbs.

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“He did give you the impression that he would become a coach. You never know, he might even take the change to be a manager. Clearly, just now he’s doing a great job at being a coach.

“He’s a legend at the club now, appreciated by all the fans for what he did and is still doing. He’s contributing to where the club is just now.

“There’s been turnover with managers but he seems to be always be well-respected. He’s stayed and been an important figure in the coaching staff.

“It speaks volumes that a few managers have kept him involved, and it’s expected [that they would]. He has great knowledge of the game, has good game intelligence, and understands what is needed on and off the pitch.

“He is very good at communicating, and people respect him just for being Dave. There’s no question that he should be there.

“And having a club legend is good for a manager coming in, a member of staff that they can bounce off of. Dave knows exactly what the club needs.

Given his path so far from captain, to history-maker, to backroom staff, you feel there would be no better end to the David Gray and Hibs love affair than the former right-back one day stepping into the dugout as manager. Who knows what the future might hold but, for now, Fyvie is confident Gray is in the ideal role.

“If I’m honest, I’ve never spoken to him about it,” said Fyvie. “He’s never mentioned it.

“I think he’s really happy within his current role, and it’s not an opportunity I feel he would want right now. He’s still learning his trade as a young coach, and he knows that.

“He will be learning all the time, taking things in bits and pieces from each manager to add to his own bow. He’s one of those people who will want to improve all the time.

“You never know – it might happen one day, it might not. But I think he’s happy where he is, for the moment.

Gray made 177 appearances for Hibs, wore the captain’s armband for just under seven years, and scored the most famous goal in the club’s modern history. But for all he is revered and renowned around Easter Road, Fyvie feels his qualities as a player where, if anything, slightly underrated.

“Starting out at Manchester United, you don’t go down there and come through the academy without having a lot of qualities,” he insisted. “Dave certainly had that in the right-back position.

“He was a great organiser, and obviously he loved a tackle. But he was really good on the ball and understood his role within the team.

“He was an underrated player in that sense. He could also get up and down the pitch, he was very energetic and was a 7/10 every week, so consistent in the performances he gave throughout my time with him.

“Everyone I’ve ever spoken to who has played with him before or after has said exactly the same thing. They are the best kind of players to play with.

“You’re know what you’re getting, you know what to expect as a team-mate. You set expectations on each other, and he was an example-setter with his performances and the consistency of them.”

But Gray was never one to seek the limelight, and you probably won’t find him milking the occasion too much on Sunday. But Fyvie is in no doubt it is a day he will be forever grateful, and one that that’s richly deserved.

“I think the word would be that he’ll ‘appreciate’ it,” Fyvie said. “But he will probably try and shy away from it at the same time!

“That’s the kind of character he is; he doesn’t like too much limelight being on him. He’s quite happy getting by and doing a good job, he doesn’t need the pat on the back that some boys do.

“But there’s no doubt he’ll appreciate the turnout he gets, and I’m sure it’ll be a really good one.

“It’ll be hugely deserved for him. With the service he’s given the club as a player and a coach, it’s fantastic and it’s only right he gets the opportunity to have the testimonial year.”