Roy Erskine hails Andy Murray’s football talent

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FORMER footballer Roy Erskine believes his grandson Andy Murray could have successfully followed him into the sport rather than taking up tennis.

“You should have seen that boy when he was nine, ten, 11,” Erskine said at Hampden yesterday after making the draw for the first round of the Scottish Cup with his daughter Judy Murray, Andy’s mother.

“He was a fantastic centre-forward. I was convinced that was what he was going to do. His control was so good.”

Erskine, a full-back with Hibernian and Stirling Albion among other clubs in the 1950s, said that the lack of control was the thing that concerned him most about today’s game. “Football is just so different now. Some of the pitches that we used to play in – they were like playing in a field.

“I don’t understand why Scottish players especially cannot pass a ball. That’s a big problem just now – passing the ball is the poorest part of their game.” Although he made some appearances for Hibs in friendlies, Erskine never represented the club in a league match – no disgrace during an immediate postwar period in which the Easter Road side won three championships. If he had been asked then what would happen first, Hibs winning the Scottish Cup or a grandson of his winning Wimbledon, he would have opted for the first possibility.

But now, having seen Andy win the singles title six years after his elder brother Jamie won the mixed doubles with Jelena Jankovic, Erskine understandably has a pretty sceptical attitude to the prospect of his old club ever again lifting the trophy they last won in 1902.

“Hibs and the Scottish Cup – seriously?” he asked. “You would think it would be logical, that a strong supporter like Andy would have the influence to see Hibs through.

“They had a fantastic side [in the 1950s]. If they’d had a good defence they would have taken everything. I’m quite sure.”