Murray wants Scotland action

CHRIS LAKEY Canaries new boy Ian Murray is hoping to force his way into Scotland manager Alex McLeish's plans for the Tartan Army's European Championship campaign.


Canaries new boy Ian Murray is hoping to force his way into Scotland manager Alex McLeish's plans for the Tartan Army's European Championship campaign.

The 26-year-old was part of the sizeable Scottish contingent at Carrow Road celebrating yesterday after Scotland stunned France with a 1-0 win in Paris.

And Murray - a free transfer capture from Glasgow Rangers last month - says he hasn't giving up on joining fellow Canary David Marshall in McLeish's squad, which has three more games before the end of the year in which to seal qualification for the finals in Austria and Switzerland next summer.

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Murray has a long association with McLeish, having played under him at Hibs before following him to Rangers.

“All players that aren't involved at the moment have got something to aim for now,” he said. “I would imagine the manager will stick to his players and show a bit of loyalty to them, which is fair enough, but there is a chance for everybody to stake a claim from now to the end of the season.

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“I was at Hibs with him and he took me to Rangers so hopefully I am in his thoughts. I worked with him for the best part of six or seven years throughout my career so we know each other fairly well.”

Marshall was third choice keeper in Paris as Scotland pulled off a remarkable double, having beaten Thierry Henry and Co at Hampden last October - although even Murray admitted the bets he had hoped for was a draw.

“I was surprised as well, I thought they might have got a draw, I didn't expect them to win,” he said. “It was a great result for Scotland and the whole nation will be excited now - we have a real good chance of automatic qualification.

“Of course it is good for David to be in the squad. There are a lot of good goalies in Scotland at the moment and David has done well to get in there and if he can keep himself in the frame for the next few games then he has a great chance of getting himself to a major tournament.”

Murray was thrown in at the deep end after arriving at Carrow Road, taking over at left back from the injured Adam Drury at Hull, within 48 hours of his arrival in Norfolk, and then in the Carling Cup tie at Rochdale three days later. However, illness curtailed his performance at Rochdale to the opening 45 minutes, with manager Peter Grant later admitting he was wrong to have played him.

But Murray is fighting fit, with a midfield run-out with the reserves at Milton Keynes on Monday blowing away some cobwebs.

“I'm fine now,” he said. “It was just the weekend after I came here I was a bit choked up and a few of the guys had it last week, but luckily there was no game and it didn't affect us too much.

“It wasn't ideal, especially with the amount of games we had during that short time, but thankfully it's away and it wasn't too long.”

The versatile Murray is happier in midfield or central defence - and could get his chance alongside Gary Doherty against Crystal palace this weekend, should Jason Shackell fail to recover from an ankle injury.

“Now Adam is fit I can stay away from that area,” he said. “It was just one of those things, you come in and the left back gets injured in training.

“We have three centre-halves at the club at the moment, and that's including Dion who obviously likes to be up the centre of the park as well, so we are a bit short there, so maybe one or two faces could be added.”

City face three weeks doubling up, with game son Saturday followed by another on the Tuesday - a period Murray sees as crucial.

“Cardiff was a big game for us,” he said. “We somehow managed to lose not just two points but the whole three of them, so Saturday is a big game. It's a big game anyway, but it's now bigger.

“It's pretty big month - it's a chance for every team, not just Norwich but every team, to build on their start. I think you might see a few gaps start to appear over the next few weeks. We have just got to get as many points as we can and hopefully we will be in the top end of the table.

“We have a decent side, I think most teams are much the same. I know the league is tight anyway so it just goes to show, you can go on a run of six or seven games no problem, but equally you could find yourselves on the wrong side of luck and be down the bottom.”

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