BY ALAN TEMPLE, Algarve – @CCP_Sport
SIMON MURRAY insists he has no interest in making a journey ‘from Tayport to Turkey’ after Hibs knocked back a six-figure bid from Elazigspor for their top scorer.
Murray has described the chain of events as ‘random’ as he revealed that Neil Lennon called him into the office at their training base to inform him that they would be kicking out the offer.
He was delighted with that news and is adamant that, just six months after joining the club from Dundee United, he has no desire to depart Easter Road.
Nevertheless, four years on from plying his trade in the Juniors with the likes of Dundee Violet and Tayport, Murray raises a smile at the thought of his remarkable rise taking him to the banks of the Bosphorus.
“From Tayport to Turkey! That would be some journey,” he smiled. “But I am happy to be a Hibs player. Why would I not be?
“The gaffer pulled me into his office the other day and told me there had been an offer put in for me from a club in Turkey. It was a bit random but I am fully committed to Hibs. I don’t want to leave this club. It’s not really something I have been thinking about.
“The gaffer says it’s something I should take as a compliment. It’s nice to be noticed but I spoke with the manager and told him I want to stay here at Hibs and prove I can do the job.”
That has become an even more challenging task this month with the arrival of Jamie Maclaren, an Australian internationalist, and the continued progress of Oli Shaw.
However, Murray – 14 goals to his name this term – is not one to shy away from a fight for a jersey.
“You need competition to push you – and you push them in return,” said Murray. “Jamie Maclaren has arrived at the club and he’s scored a lot of goals in his career and he is also an international player.
“Young Oli Shaw came on in the cup semi final against Celtic and he scored a goal. Any time he has been called upon he has done well for the team.
“I’ve been through a patch of scoring, then not scoring, then scoring again. That’s football. You just make sure you keep your head down, work hard and ensure you don’t get distracted.
“Hopefully the competition pushes me on in my fight for the starting place – and that I am starting the next game against Hearts.”
Indeed, his first outing against the Jambos provided his highlight in a Hibs shirt, scoring the winning goal as they defeated Craig Levein’s men 1-0 at Easter Road in October.
It is an experience he would love to replicate at Tynecastle in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup and, in doing so, extend their unbeaten run against their fierce foes to 10 games.
“That was definitely the highlight of my season,” he added. “It was great to score a goal that early and for it to turn out to be the winner. The whole squad is buzzing for the derby and hopefully we can continue our good unbeaten run in the fixture.
“We could hear the Hibs fans singing about 10-in-a-row against Willem II and they are all buzzing for the derby. Hopefully we can keep the smiles on their faces.”