Hibs head into the final with just three wins from their last 12 games and with caretaker boss Gray in charge following Jack Ross’ dismissal last week.
The 33-year-old is reportedly set to step down after the final, with Shaun Maloney due to take charge pending the successful conclusion of negotations.
Gray is already a Hibs legend having scored the winner in the 2016 Scottish Cup final against Rangers which ended the club’s 114-year wait for the trophy.
But ex-Scotland international Collins, who played for both Hibs and Celtic and was also manager of the Edinburgh club when they last lifted the League Cup in 2007, believes the former defender will be immortalised in stone should he steer them to another cup win.
“I don’t think David could be any more of a Hibs legend after lifting the Scottish Cup as a player after so many years of the fans being starved of it,” Collins said. “He is a legend. But if he manages to pull off a victory at the weekend – wow, there will definitely be a statue of him outside the Hibs stadium!
“He’s a good lad. He’s new to coaching, having just retired, and has been thrown in at the deep end, but I’m sure he’s enjoying it and I wish him all the very best this weekend. It’s a great opportunity for him, a daunting task at the same time. Celtic are formidable opposition, although a weakened Celtic with their injuries. But I think there’s everything to gain and nothing to lose for David.”
Speaking to William Hill, Collins added: “But every Hibs player will need to put in a shift from the first minute to the last. They’ve got to work their socks off and take their chances. Celtic will create more chances than Hibs, that’s probably guaranteed. But with one-off games, if the Hibs keeper has a good game and the Celtic keeper doesn’t, if Hibs take their chances and Celtic don’t… Cup finals can be unpredictable, they’re one-off games. You hope Hibs can raise their game, they’ll need to play their best game of the season.
“I believe they will go into the cup final with no pressure. Nobody expects Hibs to win it, except maybe the die-hard Hibs fans. The pressure is on Celtic, the expectation is on Celtic. As a Hibs player going into the final, they’ve got to go for it, be brave… If you get beat 1-0 or 5-0 it’s the same thing. Be brave, go and try and get that first goal and don’t be too cautious. To win the game, Hibs have got to score first. If Celtic score first, it’s very unlikely Hibs will come back and win the game. Celtic just tend not to lose when they go in front.”