Hibs skipper David Gray has revealed how he’ll use the memory of “the one that got away” to help drive the Easter Road club on to League Cup glory.
Gray admitted losing in the final to Ross County two years ago still haunts him to this day even although he and his team-mates went on to end the Capital club’s 114-year wait for the Scottish Cup a few months later.
Having beaten the likes of Aberdeen, Dundee United and St Johnstone on the way to Hampden, Hibs were again the better side as they faced their fourth Premiership opposition but were left devastated as a late Alex Schalk goal robbed them of the trophy,
But, insisted Gray, Alan Stubbs’ side used that bitter disappointment as motivation as they faced Inverness Caledonian Thistle only a few days later, winning that Scottish Cup replay before going on to defeat Rangers 3-2 in the final with the right-back claiming the winner with only minutes left.
Now the 28-year-old is determined not to let another chance to win the League Cup slip through his fingers although he admitted Neil Lennon’s players go into tomorrow’s semi-final against champions Celtic as underdogs.
He said: “Losing the League Cup final the year we won the Scottish Cup still haunts me a little bit.
“But we used that as motivation. We lost at the weekend at Hampden, but then we had Inverness Caley away in the Scottish Cup as our next game midweek. We never wanted to experience that again.
“Losing in final after we had done so well was disappointing. It felt like something that kind of got away from us that season.
“Obviously, the way the season finished it was forgotten about up to a point.”
Having again reached the semi-final of the Scottish Cup last season only to narrowly lose to Aberdeen, Hibs have become regular visitors to Hampden and, insisted Gray, they can take heart from their past exploits and also the fact they went close to smashing Celtic’s 17-month unbeaten run in Glasgow only a few weeks ago.
He said: “We have to take confidence from our own performances in the cup runs especially. In recent seasons, we have done well in cup competitions and it’s a semi so anything can happen.
“We know we go into the game as underdogs but we’re capable of getting the result.
“I think it is a good thing when you are disappointed to come away from Celtic Park having not won the game. It shows how well we did on the day but, at the same time, it has no real bearing on this weekend. Celtic are a fantastic team, their record is there for everyone to see but it is up to the rest to try and put them off that and we have another opportunity to finish it.”