Following confirmation of Gray’s move into a coaching position at the club, we’ve taken a look at his most memorable strikes in green and white.
Gray had already got off the mark for Hibs with his first ever senior goal at Ibrox as Hibs recorded a 3-1 win in September, and netted a second in a 2-1 Scottish Cup win at Alloa, but his maiden strike at Easter Road was one for the scrapbook.
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Rangers arrived in the Capital with Kenny McDowall in caretaker charge, following Ally McCoist’s departure the previous week. The visitors had lost their last two away games, conceding four goals and failing to score themselves. By the end of this 90 minutes, they had conceded four more goals and once again failed to net themselves.
Hibs took just eight minutes to break the deadlock. Jason Cummings held the ball up and fed Liam Craig, whose cross into the box was headed out of the penalty area by Lee McCulloch but only as far as Gray, who shaped to shoot first time before trapping the ball. The feint gave him time to tee up his effort and from the edge of the box he unleashed a howitzer into the top left-hand corner, with Steve Simonsen’s dive in vain.
Jason Cummings, Scott Robertson, and Liam Craig joined Gray on the scoresheet as Rangers suffered their heaviest defeat at Easter Road since January 2012.
Hibs were trailing 1-0 on aggregate from the first leg of this Europa League second qualifying round encounter when they travelled to Denmark for the second leg. David Gray’s goal in the Scottish Cup final had secured the side their place in the competition and the captain struck again just after the hour mark in Brøndbyvester.
Grant Holt’s aerial presence helped force the Brøndby defence into half-clearing Dylan McGeouch’s corner, with the ball falling to Darren McGregor. The centre-back fed his defensive colleague and Gray chested the ball down before stretching to clip a right-footed effort into the goal despite Frederik Rønnow getting a hand to it.
The away end was a sea of limbs; a green, white, and day-glo yellow maelstrom of delirium. Hibs would eventually be beaten on penalties by the Danes but it was Gray who kept the tie alive for the Easter Road side.
Two goals down after 35 minutes thanks to a Giorgos Kyriakopoulos brace and staring a Europa League exit in the face, Hibs somehow managed to turn this Europa League second qualifying tie around in the second half.
Efe Ambrose scrambled the first goal over the line on 64 minutes and Gray levelled 13 minutes later.
Stevie Mallan started the move, playing the ball to Paul Hanlon who drove forwards before slipping it to Lewis Stevenson on the left flank. The full-back’s cross was met by Florian Kamberi, whose header fell nicely for Gray to take a touch before firing the ball past Giorgos Athanasiadis.
The Greeks then had Triantafyllos Pasalidis sent off and Kamberi completed the turnaround deep into injury time, knocking home the rebound after Athanasiadis had parried Martin Boyle’s effort.
Hibs then recorded a 1-1 draw in Arcadia to advance to the next round.
Hibs huffed and puffed in this Betfred Cup group match at a chilly Station Park in autumn 2020. A handful of injuries and a host of international call-ups had left Hibs with just 14 available first-teamers, forcing goalkeeping coach Craig Samson to be listed among the substitutes.
Gray lined up at centre-back alongside Darren McGregor, with Melker Hallberg filling in at right-back and Sean Mackie at left-back.
Hibs were limited to just two shots on target throughout the 90 minutes but with the game careering headlong towards a penalty shoot-out, Gray got his head to a Stevie Mallan free kick and beat Marc McCallum from close range to snatch three points for Hibs.
While perhaps not quite as important as the other strikes listed here it proved that Gray, who had been very much reduced to a watching brief for large parts of the campaign, could still pop up with a vital goal when needed.
A strike for the ages. Huge, momentous, legendary. No matter which hyperbolic adjective is used to describe David Gray’s 92nd minute winner in the 2016 Scottish Cup final doesn’t quite do it justice for those of a green and white persuasion.
Ian Crocker’s commentary to accompany the goal has become nearly as famous as the goal itself – “What a moment this is… it’s Liam Henderson to deliverrrRRRR! And David Gray has scored! The captain! Hibs are standing on tbe brink of history after 114 years! They’ve almost done it; they’ve almost won the Scottish Cup!” – but it’s also worth noting that Gray started the move that eventually led to his history-making header.
Hassling Rangers forward Nicky Clark into making an error and knocking the ball out of play in front of the dug-outs, Gray took the resultant throw-in to Fraser Fyvie, who picked out Anthony Stokes. The Irishman’s low effort on goal was tipped wide by Gers ‘keeper Wes Foderingham and from Liam Henderson’s corner, the captain came up with the goods.
It was one of just two goals he scored in 47 games in 2015/16.
In addition to his three goals against Rangers, strikes against Brondby and Asteras Tripolis, and the winner at Forfar, Gray also netted against Alloa Athletic, Dundee United, Kilmarnock, Motherwell, NSÍ Runavík, Queen of the South (twice), Ross County, and St Mirren. He registered 21 assists.