JAMIE MURPHY has hailed grief-stricken Kevin Nisbet’s ‘courage’ to play for Hibernian in last weekend’s Scottish Cup semi-final amidst the pain and anguish of the death of his ‘hero’ dad.
And the winger insists everyone at Easter Road will continue to rally round the striker as he comes to terms with the emotional turmoil of his personal tragedy.
Nisbet this week revealed the heartache he and his family are trying to live with after the passing of Thomas following a battle against liver cancer.
The 23-year-old fulfilled his father’s wish to play against Hearts at Hampden last Saturday and the striker will be back in the squad to face Aberdeen on Friday night.
There was to be no on-field release for the summer signing from Dunfermline, who saw a first-half header brilliantly saved by Craig Gordon before striking the crossbar with a penalty in extra-time in a key moment in the seesaw tie.
But Murphy admits he is full of admiration for the way Nisbet has coped in recent days.
“He’s been okay, he’s trained well,” said the on-loan Rangers attacker, who will make his move permanent next summer. “We were all thinking about him and his family after a tough week last week.
“It does show real courage to play in the game and put himself forward like that. We’re all right there behind him, supporting him.
“He’s been great for us, coming from the league below up to the Premiership and fitting in straight away and scoring goals. It’s a hard, hard thing to do.
“He’s been great so far and I am sure he will be great for us the rest of the season as well. Last weekend [the penalty miss] was a little blip but we all know he’ll bounce back.”
READY TO GO
Murphy is convinced Hibs will also, as a team, recover from the dramatic loss to their bitter rivals.
Having missed out on a Scottish Cup final berth they do not want the obvious disappointment to fester and hamper their ambitions in the league, where they could move into second with a win at Pittodrie.
“It takes a couple of days, it’s not one of those games where it’s forgotten about the night of,” added Murphy.
“It takes maybe a day or two to try to get it out of the system and move on, and get back out onto the training pitch and start thinking ahead.
“We did that early on in the week and the last few days’ training have been very good. Everyone’s ready to go.
“If the semi-final hadn’t happened and we were playing this game it would have been just as important.
“Obviously, coming off a defeat you want to win even more. But they’re one of our rivals up there at the top of the table so it’s a big game for everyone.”