With the game heading for extra-time, the club captain wriggled free from his marker at a corner to bundle the ball over the line – and secure his club’s first Scottish Cup for 114 years.
Just over a week after seeing their promotion dreams crushed after a play-off semi-final defeat to Falkirk, this was the perfect consolation for Alan Stubbs’ side as they denied Championship rivals Rangers a domestic treble.
On-loan Celtic striker Anthony Stokes gave Hibs the perfect start to an emotional day with an opening goal after just three minutes.
The early goal provided Hibs with an incredible sense of belief and they proceeded to dominate the contest.
Anthony Stokes celebrates after scoring the first goal for Hibs - Rangers v Hibernian 2016 Scottish Cup Final
Image credit: Reuters
But it was Rangers who would grab the second goal of the game – with just their first attempt. Full-back James Tavernier had a shocker in defence but he provided the equaliser when his cross was met by 36-year-old Kenny Miller who powerfully headed in after 27 minutes.
The drama was to continue after the break when Andy Halliday gave Rangers an undeserved lead with his side’s second effort at goal as he struck from 25-yards. It was an incredible strike and put Rangers in control.
Hibs were down but not out however as they struck back with two goals in the final 10 minutes to win the contest through Stokes and Gray respectively. Rangers only have themselves to blame as they were caught out twice from corner set-pieces.
The victory means second-tier side Hibs will enter into the Europa League qualifying stages in July.
Hibernian celebrate scoring v Rangers in the Scottish Cup Final 2016
Image credit: Reuters
The scenes at full-time. This was a special day in the history of Hibernian Football Club. Sadly, it was ruined by unsavoury scenes at the full-time whistle when fans of both clubs clashed on the pitch. It ruined Hibs’ celebrations after an incredible 114-year wait. There will certainly be repercussions for the idiots involved.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Anthony Stokes (Hibs) – He had an amazing 11 shots on goal and somehow only scored twice. The on-loan Celtic striker will love every moment of the celebrations over Rangers and it’s no more than he deserves. He terrorised Tavernier and the rest of the Rangers defence throughout.
Rangers: Foderingham 6; Tavernier 4, Kiernan 5, Wilson 6, Wallace 6; Halliday 7, Holt 5, Zelalem 4; Waghorn 5, Miller 7, McKay 6. Subs: Shiels 6, Clark 6.
Hibs: Logan 7; Gray 7, Hanlon 6, Fontaine 7, McGregor 6, Stevenson 7; McGeouch 7, McGinn 6, Fyvie 7; Cummings 7, Stokes 8. Subs: Gunnarsson 6, Henderson 6, Keatings 6.
3’ - GOAL - Rangers 0-1 Hibs! What a start for Hibernian who have an early lead - Stokes is granted far too much space in the penalty area and is allowed so much time to place the ball past Foderingham in the Rangers' net.
8’ - MISS! Cummings is played through on goal but he's denied by Foderingham who makes himself big to block the shot. The rebound falls to Stokes whose shot is deflected. Hibs should have two!
27’ - GOAL! Rangers 1-1 Hibs - The Gers equalise with their first on goal and it's simply down to dreadful defending! Tavernier delivers a wonderful cross towards the back post and Miller shows tremendous strength to powerfully head the ball into the back of the net.
28’ - POST! It's all happening at Hampden! Stokes breaks in the opponent's final third - with little other option he has a shot at goal from 20 yards and is only denied by the woodwork as the ball smashes off the crossbar.
31’ - CROSSBAR! Miller is denied his second goal of the afternoon by the woodwork! He is left unmarked in the penalty area from the corner but Hibs survive as his bullet header smashes off the crossbar.
39’ - SAVE! He's making a habit of this, Stokes, as he goes past Tavernier too easily on the flank as he speeds into the penalty area before firing on target but Foderingham is equal to the shot and parries the ball away from goal.
40’ - ANOTHER SAVE! The Rangers defence is split open once again as Cummings finds himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper but he can't beat Foderingham from a tight angle.
64’ - GOAL! Rangers 2-1 Hibs - It's a cracking goal by Halliday which gives Rangers a crucial 2-1 lead. The midfielder collects in a central position and he catches the ball perfectly from 25 yards as his shot almost bursts the top corner of the net.
75’ - MISS! The on-loan Celtic man has had countless opportunities today but the latest attempt is simply criminal. He does brilliantly to skip away from a challenge but with the goal at his mercy he blasts the ball over the bar. He snatched at it.
80’ - GOAL! Rangers 2-2 Hibs - Stokes levels! He outmuscles the disappoining Tavernier at the near post from a corner and heads the ball into the roof of the net. Alan Stubbs missed it - he was at the toilet. Unbelievable match here.
90’+2 - GOAL GOAL GOAL! HIBS HAVE DONE IT! It's the captain Gray who heads in the game's decisive fifth goal of the game. He manages to get his head onto a corner delivery and the ball is bundled over the line.