While the full-back accepts there is a lot riding on the top-of-the-table clash, he did make a point of noting tomorrow’s date in reply to those who claim anything other than a win will extinguish Hibs’ hopes of automatic promotion.
“In November?” he asked. “The way Rangers are going at the moment they are flying. But we have to concentrate on ourselves and try and stop them on Sunday. But I certainly don’t think it’s the case that if we don’t win then the title race is over.
“That’s disrespectful to the rest of the teams in the league,” he added. “It’s a very difficult league and we have dropped points in matches we have been expecting to win this season. Every game is difficult so to say that the league would be finished is a bit silly and disrespectful to the rest of the teams.”
In order to get within eight points of leaders Rangers, Hibs have had to win several recent games, all of which Gray considered were “must-win”. Last week’s pair of away victories at Falkirk and Raith Rovers could prove to be every bit as significant in the final analysis as a win over Rangers tomorrow.
“A lot of people are saying it’s a must-win game but we treat every match in this league as a must-win game,” he said. “This week is no different and hopefully with a good crowd behind us we can get the right result.
“It’s in our hands to cut the gap if we get the win. It’s two sides on a good run right now but hopefully it’s us who keeps that good run going.
“I felt we played really well at Ibrox earlier in the season and if we had taken our chances it could have been a different story. It took a great free kick from their lad [James Tavernier] to separate the teams.
“But sometimes you get the luck and sometimes you don’t,” he added. “I’m sure there are times this season we have played worse and got all three points.”
Having played in all ten games against Rangers since signing for Hibs two summers ago, Gray has grown to cherish the challenges. His goal in Hibs’ 3-1 win at Ibrox last September was his first competitive goal for the club. It is one of three he has scored to date for Hibs. “I’ve scored against Rangers but not against many other teams,” he said. “My goal at Ibrox was my first competitive goal and I’d happily take another on Sunday.
“This is the tenth time I have played Rangers since I’ve come up here – it’s incredible isn’t it? But I love these games. They are so enjoyable, at Ibrox or at Easter Road.
“I don’t think you can play Rangers too often. Rangers will sell out behind the goal and with the Sky cameras in attendance it should be a terrific occasion.”