Jamie Murphy is reveling in the preparation for this Saturday’s Scottish Cup final, as the whole town embraces the Steelmen’s biggest match in two decades.
The claret and amber bunting around Motherwell and the frenzy for tickets tell the whole story about the Cup fervour which is currently gripping North Lanarkshire, and ‘Well’s in-form striker is relishing the local hype which surrounds such an extraordinary occasion.
“The whole town is behind us, and it’s just so good to see,” the former Scotland under-21 star enthused. “You see the flags flying out of the cars and out of people’s windows. It’s really special. We had some local school children in, and they were giving us the good luck messages that the made in class for us.
“We know those fans will be there to support us. Like the staff, the manager; they just want us to go out and do well, so we’ll give it everything we’ve got on Saturday and hopefully that will be good enough.”
To say it hasn’t been a normal week of training at Motherwell Football Club would be an understatement. So far it’s been a week of visits from school kids, bowling and golf – not to mention some hard graft in training – as Stuart McCall’s men look to plot the downfall of the giants from Glasgow’s East End.
There’s also the increased interest from the media, which naturally comes from being the underdogs looking to shock Neil Lennon’s side.
But young Murphy believes that Stuart McCall is getting the balancing act perfect ahead of the weekend’s Hampden showpiece.
He 21-year old praised: “We had a day out yesterday with a bit of golf and tenpin bowling, which we wouldn’t normally do on a training week, so you can definitely tell that it’s Cup final week.
“I really enjoyed it, and all the other boys did too. There was a bit of money getting put on the golf and it was a good laugh and that kind of thing helps to bring the squad together.
“There are the press duties as well, and we’ve worked hard in training, so it’s all coming together really well and we’ll look forward to training on Thursday and Friday and the game on Saturday.
“I won the golf, but I think the bowling was rigged!” Murphy accused, pointing the finger of blame firmly at Stuart McCall and his coaching staff. “The first game we had; the highest score won, obviously. But after that they changed it so it was the most improved score which won – so all the staff who were rubbish in the first game did well.”
Despite the positivity currently flowing through the streets of Motherwell, the ‘Well star is realistic when analysing the task which awaits the players who emerge onto the Hampden turf wearing claret and amber.
Celtic are overwhelming favourites to beat the Steelmen, with 15/2 available from some bookmakers ahead of the showdown – and Murphy knows he and his team-mates will have to be at their best if they are to lift the 137-year old trophy.
He acknowledged: “It’s going to be very difficult. Celtic are obviously one of the top sides in Scotland, so to beat them we will have to have eleven players at the top of their game.
“But it’s a massive game for the club and the fans, so we will be going out there with belief and giving it everything we’ve got. The boys are raring to go and we have a fully fit squad to choose from. Every game is great chance to prove yourself and hopefully all the boys put in a good performance and impresses on Saturday.”