Scotland winger Jamie Murphy insists being included in Gordon Strachan’s final squad for the mouth-watering England showdown would be the icing on the cake following unforgettable highs on and off the park.
The former Motherwell forward became a dad for the third time last month, just two days before he helped Brighton clinch their return to the English top-flight for the first time in 34 years.
However, there could be more drama for Murphy to experience before the summer is over after he was included in Strachan’s provisional 29-man pool for the crucial World Cup qualifier against England at Hampden on June 10.
The squad is set to be pared down after this weekend’s Scottish Cup final between Celtic and Aberdeen and Murphy admits life on and off the pitch could not get much better.
He said: “It’s been a good year all round. We worked hard all year to get to the Premier League and to finally get there is great.
“I’ve also just become a dad for the third time to Jay, that’s three in three years. We’ve already got Sofie and Hallie and they’re all doing great.
“My wife had the wee one on the Saturday night and we got promoted on the Monday.
“Then there’s the Scotland squad – you don’t get many bigger games than Scotland-England. So it’s one I’m looking forward to.
“Getting named in the squad is a great thing for me but when it cuts down you want to be in it.
“That’s down to the manager, if I’m in it fantastic, and I’ll go and try contribute to the squad. If not, I’ll work harder and try and get in others.”
Murphy is among a number of players in the Scotland squad trying to maintain their fitness levels, with the England clash taking place over a month after the English Championship finished.
The 27-year-old, who is yet to make his full Scotland debut despite being called into the squad for last March’s friendlies against the Czech Republic and Denmark, admits he has kept himself busy.
He added: “I have been doing things that generally keep you fit, going to the gym, doing a bit of running – playing golf is not the worst thing.
“It’s keeping yourself active is the big thing, you never want to down tools in the summer and I’ve never really been one to do that anyway.
“I’ve not been away this summer but I wasn’t planning on going away on holiday anyway.
“We just moved into a new house back in Glasgow so this summer was more about coming back home for six, seven weeks, seeing friends and family and spending a bit of time back in Scotland.”
Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee, who was in charge at Fir Park when Murphy made the breakthrough, has hailed the player’s physical transformation after claiming he looked like a ‘set of bagpipes’ at Motherwell.
Murphy admits he has put in the hours away from the pitch.
He added: “I’ve been called a lot worse. I was 62kg when I first started when I was 16. Now I’m up to 72 or 73.
“It definitely makes a difference. Not quite as much as some people think it does.
“Working hard on and off the pitch has helped me get bigger. Growing older as well, I think some people forget I’m still only 27.
“I’ve still got hopefully eight years left at a good level.
“Being at Brighton with the facilities, the coaching staff and the things they do there has definitely helped me personally.
“It’s a big thing at Brighton, being part of a team.
“There are no individuals, everyone gets treated the same. That, as well as being part of a good side, has helped.”
*Jamie Murphy was speaking to promote the SPFL Trust’s Mental Health First Aid programme. He was participating at a fundraising event in partnership with the Chris Mitchell Foundation, set up last month in memory of the former Clyde and Falkirk player who took his own life, last year.