The Player of the Year bash may have flown a little under the radar for Hibs fans after a largely forgettable season but it was interesting to note the recipient of the 'Staff Member of the Year' award. Not to take anything away from the deserving winner, facilities manager Rab Dunn, but perhaps David Gray might have felt he was in with an outside chance of the gong. 

I'm being somewhat facetious, of course. But the point stands: not just once but twice during the season, Gray stepped up to take interim charge of the team after the head coach had been sacked - his third and fourth shots at the caretaker role. In his first league game in charge he recorded a 2-0 win at Pittodrie - a somewhat rare occurrence in recent times for Hibs - and in his second league game in charge he led Hibs to a 3-0 victory over an in-form Motherwell side that Hibs hadn't beaten in three previous matches, and just days after a 4-0 humbling at home by Aberdeen that spelled the end for Nick Montgomery. He has lost four games during his various spells as interim head coach including one to Aston Villa at Villa Park in the Europa Conference League, and one to Ange Postecoglou's Celtic side in a cup final. His two defeats came in the wake of Shaun Maloney's departure when Hibs were short on attacking options and confidence. 

READ MORE - 'I believe I can do it, I’ve demonstrated I can': David Gray speaks on Hibs job

Now that the season is over attention will turn to appointing a successor to Montgomery, with the hope that whoever gets the job can stay the distance - or at least hang about for a while longer than their three predecessors. Hibs are a club in flux and in transition, facing a big summer in terms of recruitment and the League Cup, if they are serious about silverware and challenging for third spot. The club badly needs stability. The fans crave it. The contracted players will too. 

So is now an opportune time to appoint Gray as the permanent head coach - and would it make sense?

He ticks a lot of boxes - perhaps most importantly a strong knowledge of Scottish football and a comprehensive understanding of Hibs, as well as an existing rapport with the fans and a legendary status at the club thanks to his exploits in May 2016, but he has also worked alongside four managers at Easter Road and will have learned a lot from all of them about best practices as well as developing his own approach to certain subjects. He's managed in Europe, he's managed in a cup final, and he's managed a fair few Scottish Premiership games. In two and a half years he has collected a lot of experience for someone who hasn't managed an under-18 side, never mind a senior team. 

Gray's penchant for straight-talking has also gone down well with the fanbase. Immediately after the 3-0 win against Motherwell, which served as a farewell game for departing stalwarts Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson, he paid tribute to the pair and the team for the victory before stating in no uncertain terms that the result 'fixed nothing'. There were no references to statistics; no skirting around the issues: just a very straightforward assertion that it was a good result given the circumstances, but in the context of the wider season it meant little.  

READ MORE - Gray on Hibs job, Hanlon, and what everyone at club should do this summer

He also commands the respect of the players. Asked about working under Gray, Martin Boyle said last week: "Dave is great, he totally gets everything about the club. He’s very passionate in the way he speaks and he's great around the place. He had those leadership roles when he was player and captain here. He drives standards every day and when he has stepped up into that interim job he’s done great. His record is good and everyone backs him when we step on that pitch. We’ll have to see what happens but in my eyes he is great."

When Gray himself spoke to the media ahead of Sunday's trip to Livingston, he laid out what seemed like an action plan for getting the job on a permanent basis, while also carefully avoiding saying anything too obvious. 

“I’ve tried, on my journey so far, to take on board things that I believe are good, and also what I maybe don’t agree with. It’s about forming what I believe is the way to do things. I’ve tweaked it along the way because I learn things all the time. But my principles and my identity remain the same," he said. 

There are undoubtedly risks, not least damaging his standing among the fans if things don't go well. But there are risks with every managerial appointment - and with Hibs tweaking their structure to bring in an experienced sporting director in Malky Mackay, perhaps there is an understanding that a better structure behind the scenes can help the club move forwards on the park. Mackay's presence may also negate the need for an experienced head coach - and could be good news for Gray.

READ MORE - What Myziane Maolida said about the chances of a return to Hibs

At this moment in time, Hibs need a galvanising figure; someone who can be a leader on and off the park. Ahead of another summer of change, transition, and uncertainty, it would be useful to have a sense of continuity - even if some fans are in favour of effectively starting from scratch. 

While Gray has stopped short of declaring his interest in the vacancy out of respect to his former colleagues losing their jobs, he has dropped more than a few hints and after four auditions, it would be understandable if this time he wanted to be the main man for a change. 

"I believe I can do it. I've demonstrated I can do it on a few occasions. I will always back myself given the opportunity, and I'm not shying away from it," he said last week. 

That's not the language of a man content with reverting to his coaching role when a new man is appointed. It's not even the words of someone who would be happy with a promotion of sorts as assistant to a new manager. It is the quiet confidence of a man who feels ready to step into the limelight and take on a big challenge and do it, and himself, justice. 

Only time will tell if the Easter Road hierarchy agree with him.