Hibernian: David Gray bullish over League Cup final prospects

Hibernian defender David Gray
David Gray hopes Hibernian can secure a place in the League Cup final

David Gray insists Hibernian go into Saturday's League Cup semi-final against Celtic full of confidence.

Trophy holders Celtic aim to extend their unbeaten domestic run to 60 games at Hampden.

But Hibs take heart from a 2-2 draw at Celtic Park last month and a solid start to the season, says captain Gray.

"We know on our day we are a match for anyone, and this weekend is no different," he said. "There is a real feelgood factor at the club just now."

The Easter Road side are back in the top flight after a three year absence and sit sixth in the table with just two defeats in nine games.

During their time in the second tier Hibs lost the 2016 League Cup final but returned to Hampden later that year to lift the Scottish Cup thanks to a dramatic stoppage-time goal from Gray.

The 29-year-old full-back missed the recent draw with Celtic through injury but thinks the performance in Glasgow has given the squad added belief.

"When you go a goal down, the response from the boys was fantastic," he said. "I could feel the second half as it was going on that we were dominating the game.

"When we go 2-1 up, if we had managed to hold on for another five or 10 minutes afterwards, I think they might have struggled to score because I thought we were real good value for our point that day.

"We went away disappointed we hadn't won and that was a good thing.

"We're always confident with what we have got in the dressing room. We have been saying it for the last couple of years that we have got a squad that is good enough to compete at the top end of the Premiership.

"It was all right us saying it but we were in the Championship. But we had good cup runs and did well against Premiership opposition."

David Gray scored the winning goal in the 2016 Scottish Cup final
Hampden holds great memories for Gray, who scored the winning goal in the 2016 Scottish Cup final

Hibs have been Hampden regulars of late, losing out to Aberdeen in the last four of the Scottish Cup last season.

That was the third semi-final the Edinburgh team have played at the national stadium since Gray arrived in the summer of 2014, along with the two finals in 2016.

Hibs, who last won the League Cup in 2007, also lost the 2012 and 2013 Scottish Cup finals.

"It's a fantastic record but nobody really remembers the semi-finalists, it's about getting to the final and ultimately trying to win the competition," said Gray.

"This could be the last time you get to Hampden as well, that's the way you've got to look at it. There are only four teams left that can win it, so why can't it be us?"

Gray has not featured since he was hurt in the 3-2 win over Livingston in the quarter-final, with summer singing Steven Whittaker keeping him out.

"You're always frustrated when you're not playing," he said. "I was probably more frustrated that I picked up a little injury three weeks ago - you find yourself sitting on the sidelines again and the lads are doing well.

"But that's part and parcel of football and it's up to me to work as hard as I possibly can, keep working hard in training and making sure that, when the manager calls on me, I'm ready to step up and do well."

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