Hibs captain David Gray insists league status will have no bearing on which team emerges victorious in the Edinburgh derby, but believes it is all about who turns up on the day.
As the Championship club, cup holders Hibs go into Sunday’s televised Scottish Cup fifth round showdown against Hearts as underdogs.
The Leith outfit upset the odds last season on their way to lifting the trophy for the first time in 114-years after coming from two goals down at Tynecastle before eventually winning the replay.
Neil Lennon’s side are on course to join their Edinburgh foes back in the top-flight having opened up a six point lead at the summit and Gray insists there is nothing between the sides despite being a league apart.
The right back, who scored the winning goal in the historic Hampden win over Rangers, said: “It’s all about us and what we’re trying to do, it’s not about that you’re expected to win or they’re expected to win. It’s about who turns up on the day.
“Since I’ve been at the club the derby games are ones we’ve done quite well in but we don’t look at it as if we couldn’t win, we can’t win or we should win.
“It’s more a case of that every game is difficult and we treat every game the same.
“Paul Hanlon popped up at the end of the 2-2 game against Hearts and managed to get the goal, and then the Scottish Cup just seemed to fall into place really.
“Everyone played really well.
“There seems to be a different atmosphere on Scottish Cup day as well with the fans and I think it’s because of the history that came with it in having not won it for so long, and the desperation to try and get it.”
Speaking to Sky Sports, Gray, who wrote himself into Hibs folklore after netting a dramatic last-gasp winner in the 3-2 victory over Rangers, admits he is thrilled that he has been able to make thousands of fans so happy following over a century of misery in the competition.
He added: “When you hear the stories of, ‘I’ve been going for sixty, seventy years and I never thought I’d see the day’, they’re obviously so grateful for the fact we managed to do it.
“The fans will obviously have a bit of a soft spot for us for that very reason but I just feel very fortunate and lucky to be captain on the day, and then to go and score the winning goal is Roy of the Rovers stuff for me on a personal level.
“But at the same time I’m really thankful and grateful for the boys that gave everything that day.”