HIBERNIAN head coach Alan Stubbs will travel to London tomorrow to meet with Andy Murray as the Easter Road club seek to strengthen their bond with the Wimbledon semi-finalist and pick up some tips on fitness and preparation.
Murray, a Hibs supporter, visited the club’s East Mains training base the day before his wedding in April along with brother Jamie and, according to Stubbs, delivered an inspirational address to his stunned squad.
Now Stubbs is leading up a three-man party to again meet up with the British No 1. He will be joined by George Craig, Hibs’ head of football operations, and Craig Flannigan, the club’s head of sports science and fitness, as they try to tap into his preparations and those of his Davis Cup team-mates and back-up staff as they get ready for this weekend’s quarter-final tie against France at Queen’s Club.
Murray fulfilled a long-standing wish when he visited the club where his grandfather Roy Esrkine was once a goalkeeper.
Stubbs said: “It was a really good day for everybody to be honest. It had been something that had been in the pipeline for quite a few months.
“Obviously, as you can imagine, Andy’s schedule is very busy. To be honest he was absolutely first class about it and I think anybody else possibly would have turned round and said ‘I’m too busy, I can’t fit it in’.
“But he was adamant that he wanted to do it and to be honest he went out of his way to make sure it did happen and when he came in he spoke really, really well.”
Stubbs admitted he, his players and his backroom staff sat enthralled as they listened to the tennis brothers.
He said: “Andy has an aura about him. When you have been as close as No 2 in the world you have something about you.
“I think he has really grown as a person, I think you can see the difference in him over he years. He is an inspirational figure.
“I know the players were impressed. Obviously I have spoken to quite a few people in my time and I have to say I was very impressed by the way he spoke. He was very knowledgeable, very professional, dedicated to his sport and his lifestyle, and the sacrifices he was prepared to make in order to be the best in the world came across quite evidently.
“I think from a mental strength point of view, tennis players are probably right up there at the pinnacle of sportspeople. He spoke well with Jamie and he answered questions from all the players, from myself in trying to connect dealing with expectation, dealing with pressure, trying to find that extra per cent or two per cent to make the difference and we have carried our relationship on.
“I am planning to go down to London hopefully, [to speak to] him and Jamie, unfortunately not as Wimbledon champions this year, and speak to all the Davis Cup team. It’s something that will hopefully come off and I am looking forward to it.”
Stubbs hopes the bond between Hibs and the Murray brothers will continue to strengthen in future.
He said: “Andy was very impressed by our gym and what we are doing. There’s a possibility with his schedule if he is ever in Scotland he knows he can come in and use the facilities.
“He doesn’t even have to make the phone call, he can just come in. It’s something we are looking to build with him, the relationship going forward.”