HE cost Hibs just over 1% of the £9m Celtic spent on Odsonne Eduoard, but David Gray is convinced Florian Kamberi can prove himself the signing of the summer.
Brought in on loan from Grasshoppers by the Easter Road club in January, the 23-year-old Swiss hit nine goals in 14 games.
With manager Neil Lennon also impressed by the quality of his general play, Hibs made landing the striker on a permanent deal their top priority of the window.
A clause in his contract allowed them to sign him for £100,000, with chief executive Leeann Dempster jetting out to Zurich to get the player’s agreement on terms.
“It was a huge boost for our chances this season to get Florian back,” said Gray, as he looked ahead to this afternoon’s curtain-raiser against Motherwell.
“He has been fantastic since coming in, he has hit the ground running.
“That has not been a surprise because he is a good type, who did really, really well for us last season.
“He gave us something we were maybe lacking before Christmas. He had the freedom to play and was scoring goals at will, which was great.
“All in all, it made a real difference. I think the telling statistic was that, with three matches to go, we had only lost once.”
The Edinburgh side’s captain argues Kamberi’s contribution goes deeper than just goals.
“Florian is all effort,” he said.
“He holds it up well because he is a strong, powerful boy. But at the same time, he puts in a shift. He can really stretch defenders because he gets in behind and that helps the other lads around him.
“We have the likes of Martin Boyle as well, who has real pace, so we have shown we can score different types of goals.
“We have added Stevie Mallan this summer. His free-kicks are fantastic, but his range of passing and his shots from outside the box will be a real asset for us.”
While the visit of Motherwell sees Hibs kicking off their Ladbrokes Premiership campaign against a team they took seven points out of nine from last season, Gray won’t be taking them lightly.
“I thought they were a good side, very well organised,” he said.
“They got the ball forward quite quickly at times and they worked really well off their front guys.
“They hold the ball up really well and they are big and physical. So we know the challenges they present.
“However, we have kept the same core of players as last year and, once again, believe we are good enough to compete at the top of the table.”