He watched Scotland beat the Republic of Ireland before celebrating that Euro 2016 qualifying victory by putting Doncaster Rovers to the sword at the Keepmoat Stadium three days ago, writes James Shield.
Jamie Murphy, as his manager Nigel Clough admitted yesterday, has already enjoyed a pretty good week.
But helping Sheffield United win this evening’s FA Cup first round replay against Crewe Alexandra would really make it one to remember.
“It’s a great competition, a special competition and it’s a match we are looking forward to,” Murphy, the Glasgow born winger, said. “Football north of the border is in a good place at the moment and we’re feeling good here at Bramall Lane.
“With what we’ve achieved in the tournament recently, there’s definitely no shortage of incentive. Because, if possible, we want to experience all of that again.”
Murphy, a member of the United team which reached the semi-finals of the tournament last season, is expected to be handed a pivotal role when Steve Davis’ side visit Bramall Lane tonight. Clough, who described his goal during the win over Rovers as “absolutely superb,” has made no secret of the fact he wants to combine progress in the league with another march on Wembley and, echoing those sentiments, the former under-21 international said: “There’s no way the cup has lost it’s magic. We want to test ourselves against the best and this is an opportunity to do exactly that.
“Winning those games against Aston Villa, Fulham and Charlton en route to the semis were something I or the rest of the lads involved in them are never going to forget and we want some of that again.
“The confidence we took from those was something else and, in my mind, there’s absolutely no doubt that doing well against can help us in all our other matches too.
“But the only way we tasted occasions like that was by coming through games in the early stages. We had to beat Colchester and Cambridge to experience them and that’s why we can’t afford to switch off now.
“We know what we want to do and where we want to be. So the early rounds are just as important as what comes later on.”
United, who were held to a goalless draw at Gresty Road earlier this month, enter their return with Crewe bristling with confidence following their triumph over Rovers. Nevertheless, with James Wallace (hamstring) and Paddy McCarthy both unavailable for selection, Clough is poised to reshuffle his starting eleven.
McCarthy, on loan from Crystal Palace, was dismissed for a trip on James Coppinger during the second-half of a contest United dominated for long periods and although coaching staff suggested they could appeal referee Keith Hill’s decision, Clough confirmed they will now allow it to stand unchallenged.
“It’s not clear enough whether some of the other lads would have been able to come round on the cover,” he said. “So we’ll leave things as they are.
“Paddy will serve a one match ban now and that will be in the cup. But we didn’t have permission to play him anyway so we’re not too concerned about that.
“It’s an anomaly of the rules. We’ve not had too many lucky breaks recently but perhaps this is one.”
“Defensively, we’ve been solid of late and we want that to continue,” Clough added. “Jay McEveley has done ever so well there and been really impressive at centre-half.
“He’s been composed and commanding. It doesn’t surprise me because he’s probably at the peak of his career in a knowledge and understanding sense.
“We had Jay at Derby and he played in the middle a couple of times too. Although people still think of him as a full-back primarily, I actually think he’s enjoying being in a different position.
“Not least because he doesn’t have to go bombing up and down the wing.”
Like Clough, who dismissed claims that United had averted a crisis by overcoming Rovers during his latest media briefing, Murphy is enthused by what the future might hold.
“We’re fifth in the table and if we win our game in hand then we’ll go level on points with second. That’s good because I still think there’s a lot more to come from us as a group.
“You don’t win anything in October or November. You do that towards the end of the season, later on in the year.
“We’re building as a team and growing together as a group and I think the signs are good. We’ve got to make sure it stays that way by winning our home games, no matter what is at stake, then trying to do the same in the majority of our away matches too.
“Every win is much needed and the feeling we got from our latest one was great. If we’d have drawn away from home then I don’t think it would have been the worst result in the world but we didn’t and, looking back on what happened there, I definitely think we deserved to come out on top.
“Even when we went down to 10 men, I don’t think we gave them too many chances. In fact, we looked as if we could go on and possibly get another goal.
“Defensively, we’re really getting there and it helps put pressure on people when they know that there aren’t going to be many opportunities coming their way.”
With centre-forwards Marc McNulty and Michael Higdon both nursing injuries, Murphy, together with Jose Baxter, Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Ryan Flynn, among a quartet of players charged with ensuring United fire at the other end of the pitch too.
“That’s our job and we’ve shown that we can do it,” he said. “Even if there isn’t what some people might call and out and out striker on the pitch, we know that we can still score and create.
“I was really pleased to score (against Rovers) and I knew as soon as it left my foot that it was going in. As a player, you just know when you hit it sweet.
“There’s a lot of good talent in our side and we know what, when we get it right, we can hurt people. We’ve shown that in the past.”
“Our previous meeting with Crewe was, as the scoreline suggests, pretty tight but we should, in my opinion, have still won it.” Murphy added. “They’re a good team though and we know that we are going to have to battle hard and put everything in all over again.
“Show the quality to get through.”