David Gray: Hibs’ target is to finish in European place and win a cup

David Gray believes Hibs have the capability of winning one of the major honours this season and clinching qualification for Europe.

David Gray says there is a feelgood factor around Hibs which gives him optimism for the season ahead. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS

These may seem lofty ambitions but the Easter Road captain insists there is such a positive atmosphere around the club that he can only see success in the season ahead.

The transfer of ownership from Sir Tom Farmer to Ron Gordon has been greeted warmly by supporters who are also happy with the squad Paul Heckingbottom is assembling.

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After a slightly inauspicious 1-1 draw with Stirling Albion, Hibs have hit form with three consecutive Betfred Cup wins without the concession of a goal.

Gray said: “Our objective is to finish in a European place and to win a cup. Without being too optimistic, we have shown in the cup competitions that we are capable of beating anyone. There’s no reason why we can do that.

“In terms of the league, it’s going to be very difficult in terms of how dominant Celtic have been for a number of years, but in saying that, Europe is a realistic aim for us.

“The most important thing is there’s a real feelgood factor around the club at this time. It is a really exciting time to be at Hibs and everyone is hoping it’s going to go well. We’ll see where it takes us.

“It’s been a great time for me at the club. I came here five years ago now – I believe I was one of the first signings when we were in the Championship – and to be honest it’s been really quick.

“We’ve been successful in every one of those seasons, in different ways, and on a personal level it’s been fantastic.

“Now, I see it as the chance for us to push even further on and get back up the league. We’ve sold a record number of replica strips, season tickets, all these things, which means the entire club, all the staff not just the players, are working hard to push forward the brand. It’s exciting to be at Hibs.”

Gray is also impressed with Gordon and his plans for the development of the club.

“First and foremost, he’s a football man which is great,” said the Hibs skipper. “He’s not come in and said: ‘I’m going to throw a lot of money at this so we can try to win the league.’ He is realistic. He appreciates there is a good infrastructure, we have really good players and staff, and the current structure works. He’s trying to push that onto the next level with young players coming through. This is where you will start to see things happening over the next couple of seasons in terms of bridging the gap between ourselves and teams above us.”

Heckngbottom has been shopping in the English 
market, but Gray feels an existing star and a returning favourite can be the key men in the campaign ahead, starting with St Mirren on Saturday.

He said: “When Flo Kamberi is scoring goals, we are going well. He’s got all the attributes. If we can get him going then he’s a huge asset.

“Scott Allan has come back fit and sharp. I expect a really big season from him again.”