Life has been one high after another for David Gray. Becoming the first Hibs skipper to hold the Scottish Cup aloft in 114 years was followed by the birth of his son Archie barely 24 hours before he was to enjoy his first taste of European football.
Gray admitted adrenaline got him through the first leg of the Europa League clash with Danish outfit Brondby but now, a week on, he’s adamant he and his team-mates have what it takes to overcome the one-goal deficit from Easter Road.
Gray, who, with his fiancee Hayley also has a three-year-old daughter Ivy, revealed: “Archie was born the day before the game but I had the whole of the matchday to prepare so I managed to get some sleep. But the adrenaline sees you through. I was on a high and, with the opportunity to play in Europe, it was my first time was so I was raring to go.
“These are the games you want to play in. Everyone was desperate to do so and I was no different. My fiancee and wee one were fine which meant I could put it to back of my mind and concentrate on the game.”
Gray conceded that things didn’t go to plan on the night but insisted that, as on a number of occasions last season – most notably coming back from two goals down against Hearts at Tynecastle with ten minutes remaining to snatch a draw in that epic run to Hampden – Hibs’ battling qualities shone through once again.
Agreeing that the “roof could have caved in” following Kamil Wilczek’s shock strike after 16 seconds, the right back said: “The start wasn’t great, we were chasing the game from there. But we showed a lot of belief which we saw a lot of times last season. We work hard for each other. We’re a close bunch and that stands us in good stead.”
And, if Brondby go into tonight’s match as favourites, Gray believes Neil Lennon’s side, who will be backed by around 1000 Hibs fans in Copenhagen, saw enough of the Danes a week ago to have genuine belief that they can win.
He said: “We played three friendlies then went into first leg and were left to climb a bit of a hill. But we know exactly what lies ahead of us. We’ve had a really good week’s training and feel fitter for that.
“We know we are capable of getting a result the way we played. Apart from the first ten minutes, we got a foothold in the game and played well. It’s going to be difficult but we know we are capable. They have a lot of good players, who have played international level but we know we are a good side ourselves and have to work as hard as we can to get the result.
“It’s fantastic to have so many fans over here. We were disappointed to lose the home leg, but the response from fans was great and we will need them again.”