David Gray sets Hibs trophy target as new Easter Road boss opens up on Martin Boyle transfer talks

David Gray insists his aim as Hibs boss is to deliver a trophy to Easter Road - just like he did as captain.

The newly-installed head coach laid out his immediate ambitions today as he spoke to the media for the first time since being appointed as Nick Montgomery’s successor. And the 2016 Scottish Cup hero made clear he wants to feel the buzz of landing a major trophy again and give the fans what they crave. He said: “When you are at this football club, there are demands there from the start. And the opportunity is to try to win a trophy – that’s there at the start of every season.

“Is that a realistic target? Absolutely. I’ve managed to live that and breathe that myself. The fans deserve it, they crave it. The players were made aware on day one that, when we’re goal setting for the season, we need realistic targets – and that’s exactly what it is. Every expectation on this Hibs team has to be try to win a trophy – and to finish in a European position. That’s the ultimate aim from the start of the season.”

Gray has had four separate spells as interim boss over the last two-and-a-half years and could have landed silverware in his first week as caretaker when he took Hibs against Celtic in the 2021 League Cup Final defeat.

But the 36-year-old says it’s only now - after the experienced gained from working with Jack Ross, Shaun Maloney, Lee Johnson and Nick Montgomery - that he feels fully qualified to take on the role permanently.

Gray, who celebrated his testimonial last year, said: “It’s a very proud moment. Everyone is well aware of how much this club means to me. I’ve had great times here. Now that I’m sitting in this position now, I look back to the very first time I was asked to lead the team, which was the League Cup Final. Had we won that game, and I was then asked to take over then, would that have been the right thing to do? Absolutely not.

“The progression I’ve made in the last three years since then, everything has been geared towards this moment. There is always a risk when you become a manager, the need to be successful. I’m under no illusions. But I’m looking forward to the challenge

“I fully understand the demands of the football club, the expectations. And I know what it looks like when you’re successful – as well as what it feels like when things aren’t going well. This club needs to be doing better. I take that on board every single day. If we can get this right, it’s a fantastic place to be.”

Martin Boyle will return for pre-season training today after international duty where he was linked with a move to the A-League. Gray has spoken to the winger about his future. And he is convinced Boyle is full on board for the challenge ahead.

He said: “I think everybody knows Martin Boyle's a huge asset in this league. He's also craving a little bit of leadership, he knows that and needs to pull that out of himself as well and that doesn't come by just his performances every Saturday, it's every single day in this building so I've had numerous chats with him over the past two weeks/10 days.

"He's come back in a really positive place and fully focused on being the best he can be, not just for me but for the football club. That's what he's done every time and I expect him to continue to do that."