Regardless of how the remainder of David Gray’s Hibernian career works out, the club’s supporters will always hold him in the highest esteem.
A historic winning goal against Rangers in the 2016 Scottish Cup final – ending a 114-year club drought in the competition – has ensured the full-back, who has affectionally been bestowed with the prefix ‘Sir’ by fans, has the freedom of Easter Road for the rest of his life.
However, that adulation alone is not enough to suppress Gray’s current frustrations at becoming a fringe player under head coach Jack Ross.
Gray has only managed ten minutes of Premiership action this season in a total of four outings. Last term he featured just six times.
Paul McGinn’s form at right-back is a big part of the reason Gray has found himself on the periphery.
Even the security of another two years on his deal might not be enough to convince the 32-year-old, who could feature in today’s Scottish Cup last-16 clash at Stranraer, to hang around.
“I don’t know,” responded Gray, when asked if he considered that his time at Hibs was coming to an end.
“I’ve had individual chats with the manager and my family.
“It’s frustrating, I want to be playing. I’m not happy to sit and not play.
“I think that’s one thing I don’t think any player should be happy to just accept, “oh, I’ve still got a year or so left on my contract, I’ll just be happy and down tool”. I’m definitely not like that.
“I’m still fit, I’m still contributing and I’m desperate for that opportunity.
“In terms of game time it has been frustrating for myself, you want to play as often as you can.
“The positive I can take from this season is that I’ve managed to train every single day and I’ve been fit all season.
“The motivation I’ve got is to wait for my opportunity and try and stay as fit as I possibly can so when I’m called on I can step in and do a job.
“I try to do that every single day in training by training as well as I can and hopefully that can rub off on the team so there is more than one way I can add value to the group.”
A Scottish Cup triumph is momentous at the best of times, however, lifting the silverware this term would also guarantee European football until Christmas.
Given Gray’s history with the competition, the former Manchester United trainee insists being successful at Hampden alone should be enough to drive the players on.
He added: “Winning the cup, I know what that means to the whole club and the fans.
“I was obviously lucky enough to be involved in that when we won it last time, that was fantastic and on the back of that we had two great nights in Europe.
“The cup itself, it’s an added bonus you get Europe on the back of it and it guarantees you that slot.
“To win a cup itself, we’ve all seen how dominant the Old Firm have been in recent years and how hard it is to do that, that deserves its own merit.
“I know the reward is Europe but the driving force behind that is how much it means to the players to win things.
“When you look back on your career there’s not many players that can say they played at a very good level but you are remembered for the things you’ve won and things you have achieved and I think that’s something that drives the players on.”