One final goal for cup-winning hero
Gray walked out as captain for the final time at Easter Road wearing his iconic number two shirt. Holding the hands of his three children, Hibs’ 2016 Scottish Cup winning captain – with the most famous header in Hibs’ history – was given a guard of honour from both sets of players in his testimonial against a Manchester United XI.
Alongside three of those that started on 21st May 2016 in Darren McGregor, Conrad Logan and Fraser Fyvie, Hibs, managed by current boss Nick Montgomery, got off to a bright start with the latter coming close to an opener after sending a half volley narrowly over the goal frame of Paul Rachubka.
The United XI led by red-great Brian McClair, who made a second half cameo, began to display their quality with Dalkeith-born Darren Fletcher most notable in the middle of the park alongside Darron Gibson and Phil Bardsley.
The Hibs side also featuring Scottish Cup heroes Marvin Bartley and James Keatings, alongside players who have donned the Hibs shirt either side of that incredible day at Hampden Park, including Scott Brown, Steven Whittaker and Grant Holt, looked certain to take the lead but Fyvie didn’t get enough on his attempt from six yards out.
Fyvie’s silky back hell which put Steven Whittaker through on the right side was eclipsed by Danny Swanson’s nutmeg on Fletcher in the centre of the park with Swanson glancing back to give the United legend a cheeky wave as he strode on past him.
Striker Keatings then got involved with the showboating as he showed his sharpness to meg United captain Wes Brown on the edge of the box, before seeing his fierce attempt saved well by Rachubka.
Cup-winning legend Logan, who only made eight competitive appearances for the club, was first brought into action with he made a routine save from a Gibson drive from 30 yards out.
‘The Polar Bear’ as he was affectionately known by the Hibs fans during his spell at the club is still playing at the age of 37 with Anstey Nomads of the Northern Premier League, and made his way north after keeping a clean sheet for the Leicestershire-based club on Saturday in their 1-0 win over Rugby Town.
One of the loudest receptions of the afternoon came for Hibs boss Montgomery who entered the field to replace Danny Swanson in the early stages of the second half.
Bardsley was inches away from opening the scoring for the visitors after being played through from Adam Eckersley’s ball over the top of the Hibs defence but his lobbed attempt over Logan came back off the post.
Gray opened the scoring in the 67th minute in somewhat fortuitous circumstances after the ball rebounded off him from Rachubka’s save, netting for the 16th time in a Hibs shirt, the first since October 2020 in a League Cup win over Forfar Athletic.
Hibernian Select: Conrad Logan, David Gray, Steven Whittaker, Liam Craig, Marvin Bartley, Scott Brown, Fraser Fyvie, Grant Holt, Danny Swanson, James Keatings, Darren McGregor
Manchester United Select: Paul Rachubka, Alex Bruce, Wes Brown, Danny Galbraith, Danny Simpson, John Rankin, Darren Fletcher, Phil Bardsley, Darron Gibson, Chris Eagles, Adam Eckersley