Hibs players right behind David Gray as huge week begins

Hibernian interim coach David Gray.Hibernian interim coach David Gray.
Hibernian interim coach David Gray.
There are few, if any, Hibs players happy to see the back of Jack Ross. The former manager was universally popular at Easter Road and there were a few tears shed when he said his goodbyes to staff at the training centre last week.

Football is a cut-throat business, though, and Hibs need to move on quickly. They have a crucial cinch Premiership match on Tuesday against Dundee before the small matter of the Premier Sports Cup final on Sunday against Celtic at Hampden.

Their cause was not immediately helped by Saturday’s 1-1 league draw away at St Mirren, They led thanks to Josh Campbell’s 52nd-minute strike – the youngster’s first goal for Hibs – but Joe Shaughnessy restored parity with three minutes to go. Results at the weekend did not go in Hibs’ favour. Victories for Ross County and Livingston have condensed the bottom six, with six points separating seventh-placed Hibs and St Johnstone at the foot of the table. Aberdeen, in sixth, moved four points clear with their win at McDiarmid Park.

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Hibs need an upturn in fortunes and have turned to David Gray, their former captain and recently-turned coach, to hold the fort in the interim. The 33-year-old has been chucked in at the deep end but as chief executive Ben Kensell leads the search for Ross’ successor, there is every chance he will be at the helm for Dundee’s visit and Sunday’s showpiece in Glasgow.

Gray is popular with his former team-mates in the Hibs dressing-room, who are desperate to do well for him. “Everyone’s got a lot of respect for Dave,” said winger Jamie Murphy. “He is a legend at this club. He was club captain right up until six months ago, so he has got that immediate respect from everyone.

“We all listened to what he said. There were a few things tactically different, a few ideas here and there, and by and large they all went positively. Him and Eddie [May] and Craig Samson did a great job for us.

“We were all disappointed [when Ross left]. It has never been the case before but almost every single player and every single member of staff at the training ground is disappointed that the manager has left.

“Usually you get a few that are happy, but that definitely wasn’t the case. The manager and [assistant coach] John Potter were really good to us. We loved working for them and seeing them every day. They’ll be a miss around the place.”

Asked if the squad would be happy if Gray continues to hold the reins this week, Murphy replied: “Absolutely, we’d be happy for Dave to be here as long as he can. Dave knows what he is doing. He’s done all his coaching badges.

“He’s had a six-month apprenticeship with the manager and I’m sure he’s learned a lot.

“The club makes these decisions, but there is a lot of respect for Dave.”

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Saturday’s match at the SMISA Stadium was low on quality in difficult conditions, with persistent wind and rain. Hibs were on the front foot more often, but sat back with 15 minutes to go – perhaps fatigued from the events of the past week and volume of matches – and St Mirren found a way through.

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