As memorable Easter Weekends go, Jamie Murphy’s has been so hectic he’s probably still got a stack of chocolate eggs mounded up in a kitchen cupboard. It’s unlikely he’ll get a chance to polish them off any time soon.
For one reason or another, it didn’t sound as if the Glasgow native had enjoyed much sleep by the time he agreed to take a call yesterday afternoon. To be fair, the chat came around 24 hours after he and the rest of his Brighton squad had just sealed promotion to the Premier League, but his celebrations and tale of long nights only start there, as the man himself is probably best explaining.
“My wife Nadine just gave birth on Saturday to our little boy Jay and all three of our kids were born down here,” said Murphy, fresh from the Brighton promotion party following Monday’s 2-1 win at home to Wigan. “They are still Scottish at heart, though! We’ve probably not been home as much as we would have liked. You probably couldn’t get any further away in the UK, to be honest. But we love it down here.
“It’s been a weekend I’ll never forget. We won on Friday, the baby came on Saturday, we were promoted on Sunday. It will stay in the memory.
“My wife got out early Sunday afternoon. My mum and dad were down so all the kids came to the game. I got to see them after the final whistle, which was nice.”
Murphy has had to travel a long way to get to where he is now. Four hundred and fifty miles, to be exact. In a metaphorical sense, it’s hard to comprehend that it was just four years ago this wiry winger left Motherwell for the last time as a player to pursue his career at Sheffield United. The club’s top European goal scorer in their history – high praise indeed… – is still fondly remembered by those who frequent Fir Park not just for his talent but the way he conducted himself before he was eventually sold.
“Obviously I’ve come a long way from playing at Fir Park and then moving down to Sheffield, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” said Murphy. “Sometimes you think ‘is all the hard work worth it?’ but days like Sunday shows all the training, running and work is.
“In a way it was just to get as far as my ability would take me, whether that was the Premier League or to stay in Scotland. I just wanted to go with the flow.
“Everyone wants to get to the top and the Premier League is the top.”
Murphy has appeared 38 teams from the start and bench this season under Chris Hughton, and he is honest enough to admit he’d have liked that figure to be even higher as he strives to stay a key part of this Brighton phenomenon.
“Sometimes I feel I could have played a little bit more here and there,” said the 27-year-old, whose team currently sit top of the Championship with 92 points, seven ahead of Newcastle United. “But the reason we are going up is because we are a good team and not just a good seven or eight players. We have a great squad here and there are probably groups with more ability but we definitely have the best team here.
“It’s great being a part of that.”
That promotion should bring closer Murphy’s dream of one day finally winning a cap for his country. The former Motherwell man has represented Scotland at various different age levels, but the closest he is come to a senior moment was not getting off the bench in last year’s friendly with Denmark at Hampden.
Going doing to England and then moving from Sheffield United to Brighton was always done by Murphy with his nation in mind. Given Gordon Strachan’s clear penchant for picking English-based players, even those not in the top flight, surely the talented and key figure of Hughton’s collective cannot be overlooked for much longer.
“It’s still an aim of mine to get into the Scotland squad,” he explained. “If I’m not then it’s up to me to work a little bit harder and do things a little bit better.
“Yeah it’s still part of my goal. Hopefully getting in the team at Brighton and playing down here is getting me a bit closer.”
Source : HeraldScotland