Jamie Murphy reveals stop-start season was 'driving me mad' but says he was determined not to miss out on exciting climax
If Jamie Murphy can time a run into the box as well as he has timed his return to the Hibs side, the 31 year-old winger could ensure a bright end to the season for the Leith club.
But, in those situations, he knows the key is making the most of the opportunities.
The on-loan Rangers player, whose permanent switch to the Easter Road side is expected to be formalised this summer, had been expected to miss out on the remainder of the season after a fourth hamstring injury left him sidelined and looking for answers to the recurring problem.
The solution arrived sooner than expected, though, and, thanks to a load of work with the physio and in the gym, the Scotland international made a timely return to the squad for last weekend’s Scottsh Cup semi-final and is looking forward to a thrilling final few games.
“All I wanted to do was make sure we had the problem sorted for the start of next season. I didn't want to be coming back and going through all this again. Being back for a month, out for a month, then playing for a month, then out, it was driving me mad, to be honest.
“Considering six weeks ago I thought my season was over, to be able to come back is testament to the medical staff and fitness staff getting me back.
“It was really disappointing at the time. I feel like I do everything I can in my life [to aid his career]. I work hard to try and be the best I can so it’s frustrating when you can’t even get outside on the training pitch.”
But advice from a specialist based down south, helped fuel his belief that he could still be part of things.
“I spoke to someone who looked me over and told me some things he thought I could do.
“So over the last six weeks or so I have been doing that, and, touch wood, everything seems to be going right.
“It was probably a couple of weeks ago when I started doing my stuff in the gym and I felt alright, I wasn’t in any pain, I could move freely.
“That’s when you start thinking ‘we have a Scottish Cup quarter final, we have a chance here’, and then we get through on penalties, and you make it an aim to get back for the semi-final.
“Thankfully I managed to get on and play the last ten minutes or so. I’m looking forward to the next couple of games and hopefully getting more minutes.”
A stop-start-stop again-start again campaign, he has made 22 appearances but managed only a fraction of the game time he had hoped for when he headed east at the end of August seeking out the kind of success Hibs are on the brink of delivering.
One - possibly two if they don’t get the job done at Pittodrie this evening - game away from ensuring a top-three finish for the first time since 2005-06, the only other remaining match is the Scottish Cup final on May 22.
Ten years on from his last appearance at that stage of the nation’s premier knockout competition, this time Murphy, who was part of a Motherwell team bettered 3-0 by Celtic that day, wants to walk away with a winners’ medal rather than regrets.
“That's why over the last two or three years i have done a lot of work in the gym on my own, a lot of running, that's why i did all that stuff, so i can have success and i would be lying if I said i was doing all that and not thinking about coming back and winning a trophy and scoring some goals. I am glad I will have the opportunity to do that.”
But, he knows that he has to pay more attention to what his body is telling him if he is to make the most out of the rest of his career, never mind the rest of this season.
“Throughout my career I have felt able to play through little injuries or knocks and this year has told me I can’t do that.
“I just need to be a bit more aware, and a bit more honest with the physios when I can’t play through something. It’s been a learning curve.
“Hamstring injuries are difficult things to get through but I didn’t want to miss any time, I was trying to keep training and playing through so it was probably inevitable it was going to tear again. It was from an eagerness to play, an eagerness to want to help my team-mates out.”
Bringing experience, drive and a creative spark, he is a welcome addition to a squad that has been stretched by the multiple demands and intensity of their season.
Joe Newell , Ryan Porteous and Kevin NIsbet all picked up knocks in Saturday’s semi final defeat but Alex Gogic’s return from suspension and Murphy’s availability boosts Ross’ options.
This evening the Leith side travel to Aberdeen for a head to head that could squash the Pittodrie side’s hopes of overhauling Jack Ross’ men in the dart for the line.
Hibs sit three points ahead, with a superior goal difference meaning that a win would decide matters, leaving them able to focus all their attention on cup preparation and sealing silverware, an extended run in European competition next term and a memorable first season in the capital.
“It was definitely the aim. A club like Hibs, I always looked highly on them, from playing against them, the stadium, the fans, the team they had back in the day when I played them a lot. That was the reason for coming here, I wanted success. It is one of the biggest clubs in Scotland and we are still competing at the end of the year, we still have the chance to win something.”