Zander Murray over the moon to sign for Bonnyrigg Rose as he admits life has changed for the better since coming out as gay

New signing Zander Murray believes a move to Bonnyrigg Rose has been years in the making.
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The 31-year-old striker, who joined Robbie Horn's outfit from Lowland League side Gala Fairydean Rovers last week, has always been a big admirer of the Rosey Posey having pitted his wits against them numerous times in Scottish football's fifth tier.

But he revealed his new gaffer has tried to tempt him to Midlothian in the past before finally landing his man on a one-and-a-half-year deal.

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Murray is expected to make his debut for bottom-of-the-table Rose tomorrow at Annan.

New Bonnyrigg Rose signing Zander Murray. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)New Bonnyrigg Rose signing Zander Murray. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
New Bonnyrigg Rose signing Zander Murray. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

"I had a few offers at the top of the Lowland League, but I've played against Bonnyrigg quite a few times over the years so I know most of the team, and to play in front of a big crowd week in, week out, it was an easy decision," Murray told the Evening News. "The club is used to winning and I know we are sitting bottom just now, but if you win a couple of games then you can be in the play-off spots.

"We've tried a couple of times in the past to strike a deal but for one reason or another, it hasn't worked out. So, I'm delighted to finally sign.

"Robbie's a top manager, a good guy and is well respected in the Scottish game. I'll go out and give the club absolute everything and that's the bare minimum that a club like Bonnyrigg expects. I've had a few training sessions now and there's real top quality in the squad so I have no doubt once we get going, we'll jump up the table."

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Murray hit the headlines in September when he became the first senior footballer in Scotland to reveal he is gay - former Hearts striker Justin Fashanu the last to do so more than 30 years ago.

And the former Motherwell and Airdrie youth insists his life has changed for the better.

"I'm not living a double life anymore," he explained. "I'm now being true to myself which is translating onto the pitch. I don't need to hide things in the changing room and all that stuff. The reason I did do it is I wanted to help the younger generation in breaking the stigma and helping other players. When I first came out publicly, I had no idea it was going to attract so much media attention. But my focus is football and nothing else. I've taken a step up the leagues so I have to be equipped to handle it. I want to help the team get results and that's my number one goal.

"Everyone knows I am not a quiet lad and I love the chat. My new team-mates are just the same as at Gala and everyone's up for the banter and that's what I want. I do hope I can maybe change people's perceptions but personally nobody has come up to me face to face and given me any jip. Obviously, you've got some Twitter trolls but that's only a small percentage who will send something. But in general, I've not had any direct homophobic abuse.

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"I'm currently involved in a BBC documentary talking about homophobia and that's been really interesting. I am still surprised how much interest there has been because I'm just being myself, but on the flip side, I can see the positivity that has come from it with messages I've received and the people that I am helping. It's nice to see."