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Primed for Tynecastle showdown

Promotion the priority for cup holders Hibs

The trophy is held aloft and flag flies as Hibernian celebrate cup win (photo by Terry Murden)

Captain ready for capital clash

Hibernian captain David Gray has insisted that promotion remains the priority for the Easter Road club this season.

The William Hill Scottish Cup holders make the trip across the capital to face Hearts in Sunday’s fifth-round tie.

The Championship leaders are keen to retain the trophy but Gray stressed that securing a return to the top flight is the main aim.

“These are the games that we’ve missed this year and the games that we want to get back as soon as possible with us getting promoted,” he said.

“That is our main objective but at the same time we’re all looking forward to this weekend.

“It’s been such a long wait for the club to get it (cup win), so it would be great to keep hold of it for another season.”

Gray grabbed the dramatic late winner in last season’s final as Hibs defeated Rangers at Hampden Park to end a 114-year wait for the trophy.

The Jambos will provide a stern test in front of a capacity Tynecastle crowd but the Hibs team will be inspired by their boss Neil Lennon, said the skipper.

“He has played and managed at the very top level,” added Gray. “We do get inspiration from him and he’ll have us ready.”

The hosts are favourites going into the clash after impressive wins over Rangers and Motherwell in their last two league outings but that will count for nothing come kick-off on Sunday, according to Gray.

“The times we’ve done well against Hearts since I’ve been at the club, they were well clear at the top of the Championship the season we were there and we still managed to get good results against them. It’s all about who turns up on the day,” he said.

“The form book often goes out of the window in derbies.”

Should Sunday’s tie finish all square, the replay will go ahead at Easter Road on Wednesday, 22 February.

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