Scotland: Stuart McCall backs Jamie Murphy to seize chance

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland
Interview - Jamie Murphy & Stuart McCall

Scotland coach Stuart McCall has backed Jamie Murphy to grasp his opportunity with the national team.

Murphy, who played under McCall for two years at Motherwell, could win his first cap against Denmark on Tuesday.

Several wide attackers block his path to a berth in Gordon Strachan's squad.

"If you're playing better than the other guy, regardless of how many caps he's got, you're fresh and taking on board the way we want to play, the door's open definitely," said McCall.

"I think there's an opportunity - if you go in there and make an impression with Gordon, be it in training or round the place and in games."

McCall believes the 26-year-old Brighton winger can make an impact, particularly if he does not allow his naturally unassuming personality prevent him playing a significant role in the team.

Murphy will compete with the likes of Robert Snodgrass, Ikechi Anya, Shaun Maloney, Matt Ritchie, Steven Naismith and Matt Phillips for game-time.

"Certainly in training he was fantastic," continued McCall. "The thing with Jamie - he sometimes doesn't believe in himself. He's got all the ability, old snake-hips.

"He's a quiet lad. You try to get him to demand the ball from senior pros like Scott Brown or Shaun Maloney and the more training went on, the more he was doing it.

"That's what you want. When you meet up you don't want people to be in the their shell."

Stuart McCall and Jamie Murphy
Jamie Murphy, right, played under Stuart McCall for two years at Motherwell

Murphy has scored six goals in helping Brighton to challenge for automatic promotion to the English Premier League and McCall feels the route he has taken has helped his progression as a player.

"The improvement I've seen in Jamie - I think it was good he went to Sheffield United, I think that was a good stepping block but he's then got another move," added the coach.

"I think sometimes boys coming from Scotland down to England - can you go to a club where you're going to play regularly? Jamie's done it well and who's to say he can't go higher?

"With the progress he's making, I speak to people who see Brighton a lot and Jamie's been doing well and I'm really pleased with what he's done over the last couple of days.

"And he should be confident. He's playing at a top level, for a good side who are aiming to get into the Premier League."

Murphy himself is confident in his own ability to impress, despite a modesty that can be mistaken for nervousness.

"I'm enjoying it while I'm here," he said. "I'm trying to do the best I can and try and prove to everyone I deserve to be here and hopefully I'll be involved on Tuesday.

"The manager obviously thinks we deserve to be here so it's up to us to prove him right.

"I've been doing well [at Brighton]. It's a tough league but I've managed to score some goals and I've played most of the games as well. We've got a good chance of getting promoted so we've got a big end to the season coming up.

"I've scored a few goals in the last couple of months so the manager's obviously taken note and brought me in so it's up to me to keep trying to score goals and play well."

Top Stories