After what felt like weeks of speculation, Hibs officially confirmed the appointment of (Sir) David Gray as head coach on 6th June. It had been rumoured for some time so I’ve had plenty of opportunity to weigh up the pros and cons of the decision.

I had made a case for Gray to get the gig before Hibs hired Nick Montgomery - although, in true fickle fan fashion, once Montgomery had been mentioned I was all in on that choice as well! Gray, along with Darren McGregor, was given a four-year contract back in 2019 with a long-term view of putting them in positions that took advantage of their experience and leadership qualities.

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Gray has, in effect, been in training for this job ever since. He first stepped in to cover after Jack Ross was sacked, taking the team to Hampden to face Ange Postecoglou’s all-conquering Celtic side in the League Cup final. We lost, but we ran them close in a game that few pundits gave us any chance in.

He has had the opportunity to work with – and learn from – Neil Lennon, Paul Heckingbottom, Shaun Maloney, Lee Johnson, and Montgomery as well as Ross, and there’s as much to be learned from seeing what not to do, as there is in seeing success. That’s not to mention seeing Sir Alex Ferguson up close in his early days at Manchester United.

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Gray has been through the good times and bad at Easter Road, he achieved legendary status with that header that ended Hibs’ Scottish Cup jinx, but it wasn’t just the goal that set him apart, it just summed up the impact he’s had as a leader.

Gray is a no-frills kind of guy; stern, serious, and tough – as captain he kept a raucous squad focused as Hibs chased promotion and cup glory, eventually winning the Championship before guiding Hibs into Europe as Lennon’s leader on the pitch, where another important goal from the skipper let Hibs take Brondby to penalties before exiting the competition.

From his caretaker spells at the club, Gray has never tried to be too clever with wholesale changes to the team or the system, choosing instead to be consistent with the shape and style that the players have worked on, but made simpler and with more focus on the work needed to win games in the Scottish league than on the prescriptive patterns of play insisted on by the recently departed bosses.

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This substance-over-style approach is Gray all over and he is, in my opinion, exactly what the club needs just now: a clear figurehead to lead the team and set standards through a toughness and seriousness that make it clear what is expected at Hibernian.

While the appointment hasn’t been unanimously well received, there is no question that everyone wants nothing other than the very best for Gray. This is his time, an opportunity to rebuild a club that has stumbled from one mishap to the next and it’s now essential that the board and Malky Mackay do absolutely everything in their power to give him the tools, and the players, to succeed.