(First posted on Facebook, 20th March, 2016)
Ex-Hibernian and Rangers player Ian Murray will be 35 today. Ian was one of those players with great potential whose career was constantly hampered by injury, when it seemed things were going well for him.
Ian made his debut for Hibs, just as the millennium was beginning in January 2000 and was able to play either in defence or in midfield. By October 2002, Berti Vogts drafted him into his squad for a friendly against Canada at Easter Road and Ian made his debut in the 75th minute for Lee Wilkie. (At this point I am not going mention the Vogts curse; where the majority of players he gave debut caps had injury plagued careers. I’m not but Ian Murray on for Lee Wilkie . . . let that sink in).
Hans Hubert’s boys gave Canada a spanking (LOL) 3-1 with two goals from Stevie Crawford and one from Steven Thompson, this must one of the only few friendlies Berti won. However, Ian’s progress would be halted by injury and it would be October, 2004 before he returned; coming on at half time for Gary Naysmith as Scotland drew 1-1 with Moldova in Chisinau in 2006 World Cup Qualifying round. Steven Thompson would score in this one also.
This would be Berti’s last game in charge but a month later Tommy Burns in his only game in charge of Scotland, would pick Murray to play from the start in a friendly in Stockholm. The good news was that Ian got the whole game; the bad news was that Scotland lost 4-1.
Ian would emerge a year later as a Rangers player and was played at full back by Walter Smith in a home Euro Qualifier against Belarus but he would only play for the first half as a muted Scotland tried to recover from an early conceded goal. Shaun Maloney would come on for his debut in Ian’s place but to no avail as the score at Hampden remained 1-0 to Belarus.
Ian’s time at Rangers was also injury plagued but he would see action for Scotland in Japan playing his part in Scotland’s Kirin Cup adventure in May 2006. However, by the time he came on for Lee McCulloch in the first game against Bulgaria; the damage had been well done. Scotland were in a commanding 4-1 lead with a double from Rangers teammate Kris Boyd, one from James McFadden and another from Ranger, Chris Burke who had just come on two minutes before scoring.
Burke would score the final goal but really Ian should have scored after good work from McFadden but his mishit landed at Burke’s feet who finished easily.
A draw against hosts Japan in Saitama would see Scotland win the trophy; Ian was given the second half once more swapping places with Gary Naysmith. The game ended 0-0 and the Kirin Cup was won but for Ian this would be his last Scotland game.
His time at Rangers had not gone well and neither would a brief spell at Norwich and so he would return to Easter Road for another four years before leaving in May 2012. Murray would retire shortly after and take over as manager at Dumbarton where he proved to be a relative success, so much so that St. Mirren came calling for him in May 2015. His time at St. Mirren did not go well and Ian resigned in December last year.
Happy Birthday Ian and here’s hoping you will be back in football soon.