EVERY youngster dreams of one day meeting their sporting heroes – and of one day becoming a sporting hero themselves.
Only a lucky few get to do one, but the grinning lad pictured here with former Hibs striker Keith Wright ended up doing both, for he is none other than Britain’s number one tennis player and Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray.
The picture was taken when the now world no.2 was six years old at one of the Hibs Kids Open Days. The former annual events were held at the end of the football season so fans could meet their favourite players.
Keith, who is now football development officer for Midlothian Council, has fond memories of the gatherings. He said: “They were always really nice days and it was good to meet the fans. There would be a great atmosphere. Judy Murray used to bring Andy and his brother Jamie along every year.
“This photo surfaces on the Hibs forum every once in a while. The fans are always delighted to see a champion in a Hibs strip. It’s quite strange really – of all the kids I could have lifted up for a photo I chose a future superstar. I was the most famous person in that picture once.”
As well as excelling in tennis, Murray was also a talented footballer in his youth, which is perhaps unsurprising considering his maternal grandfather, Roy Erskine, had played professionally in the 1950s for Stirling Albion and Cowdenbeath. When he was 15, he was asked to join the School of Excellence at Rangers Football Club and, realising he could not pursue both his passions, opted to continue with his tennis training – a decision Keith still takes some issue with.
The 48-year-old joked: “I don’t know why he ended up going with tennis when he could have been on Hibs’ first team today instead. But I suppose he’s done all right for himself.
“In all seriousness though, while I’ve no doubt he would have been a great player, he’s achieved incredible things in tennis so it was obviously the right choice.”
Keith isn’t the only person pleased that football’s loss was tennis’s gain. Dave MacDermid, who is on the board of directors for Tennis Scotland, said: “From a Tennis Scotland perspective, we are delighted Andy Murray chose tennis over football, though we have no doubt he would have been gifted at both sports.”