David Gray insists Hibernian not only have Hearts in their sights in next week’s Scottish Cup – but also in the Premiership.
Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Tynecastle was the fourth time this season Hibs have faced top-flight opposition in the cups, and they remain undefeated.
Wins over Aberdeen, Dundee United and St Johnstone have earned them a crack at Ross County in the League Cup final next month, whilst they will now take on Hearts for a second time in nine days in next Tuesday’s Scottish Cup replay at Easter Road.
Gray believes Hibs’ confidence will be “sky-high” for that eagerly-awaited rematch. But, with head coach Alan Stubbs maintaining promotion back to the Premiership is the first priority this season, the skipper is adamant the Easter Road outfit have more long-term goals.
He said: “We’re in a real good place at the minute and it’s not a case of worrying about the games coming up but more about enjoying them and looking forward to them because confidence is sky-high.
“We’re definitely [optimistic]. We know it’s going to be a very tricky tie, that was shown on Sunday. It was played at a real high intensity, with a lot of tackles flying in.
“I expect the replay to be very similar and hopefully we can play like we did and get through. But we’re fully expecting a really tough test again, because Hearts are a really good side.
“They’re doing really well in the Premiership; they’re where we want to be. We want to be competing at the top end of the Premiership and we feel we’ve got the players in the dressing-room to do that. The whole infrastructure at the club is pushing towards that.”
Despite an impressive start to the tie, Hibs had to battle until the 91st minute to regain parity at Tynecastle after conceding excellent first-half goals to Arnaud Djoum and Sam Nicholson.
Paul Hanlon’s injury-time equaliser, after Jason Cummings’ header ten minutes from time, was rich reward for a defiant second-half display.