Kevin Gilbride admitted he thought what many others thought after the Giants moved up in the fourth round of the NFL Draft to take Ryan Nassib. That made it four quarterbacks on the roster and the offensive coordinator figured one of them — Curtis Painter — was not going to be around much longer.

“When we drafted a player the quarterback I didn’t know what we were going to do because four guys is a lot to work into a rotation for practice’’ Gilbride told The Post “but it was never stated ‘Hey we’re getting rid of him.’ ’’

So Painter survived into training camp but there was a sense of inevitability around him as if he’d be sent packing as soon as Gilbride and head coach Tom Coughlin wanted to reduce four to three and start streamlining the quarterback position in preparation of the regular season.

A funny thing happened on the way to the roster reduction. Painter clearly an underdog as a newcomer to the system picked things up fairly quickly. Then he started making a few plays in the spring. Then he made a few more plays as summer hit and training camp arrived. Then he looked pretty darn good in the preseason opener in Pittsburgh.

And now we have an honest-to-goodness battle for the right to be the No. 2 quarterback behind Eli Manning with Painter a definite part of the discussion.

“The kid’s a legitimate quarterback he really is’’ Gilbride said “If some people thought he originally wasn’t really part of the competition he’s kind of said ‘Guess what? Take notice of me. I’m doing all right here.’ ’’

Actually Painter said no such thing. Not verbally anyway. He’s a fairly low-key 28-year old who spent three years with the Colts. From backing up Peyton to backing up Eli? That’s the plan for Painter.

“We’re all working together” Painter said. “It sure doesn’t feel like a competition. We’re all helping each other trying to get better trying to get this team better.’’

As cordial as it may be it’s in every way a competition. Manning is set up top and Nassib is set as the No. 3 quarterback virtually assured a roster spot as the Giants didn’t draft him to cut him.