Hibs: David Gray hails Paul Hanlon for playing through pain barrier to reach milestone
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The 32-year-old skippered the team as he reached the milestone, but has been managing a knee injury in order to keep playing.
"We're quite thin at the moment; we've got a lot of injuries and we're without a lot of players so it's really important having those options. Everyone's trained really well, we stick together because everyone will be needed in the last two games,” Gray said after the 1-1 draw with Aberdeen on Saturday.
"You look at someone like Paul Hanlon and it shows you his strength of character and what he's prepared to do, putting his body on the line to play when he's struggling and needs an operation.
"There are a few others struggling or carrying knocks as well so it's important we stick together because everyone is going to be needed."
Pressed further on Hanlon’s need for an operation, the caretaker manager added: "It's just a tidy-up as far as I'm aware, so fingers crossed.
"It was his 500th appearance and I think at any level it's great to play that many games but especially to do it for one club.
"He knows exactly what it takes to be successful at Hibs but also to be a Hibs player through the tough times and the good times.
"He's an example for everyone at the club – young players and older players – of what it takes to be a successful footballer at the top level in Scotland."
Hanlon added: “I’ve been managing a knee problem that’s been niggling away. We’ll see how it is in the last couple of games.
"It’s great to make the milestone. I knew it was approaching but I’ve had a few knocks and missed a few games this season and thought I might not make it.
“To reach this milestone at Hibs is something I’m really proud of. It was a dream for me to place once for this club – to do it 500 times is great.
“Hopefully I’ve got a few more in me.”