Rangers owner says rugby is in his heart as he puts £2.7m into the SRU

SEVEN years after he walked away from the Scottish Rugby Union out of frustration at the governing body's poor business practices, Sir David Murray's faith in the sport has been restored to the extent that he has paid £2.7 million to put his name on the shirts of the national team.

The Rangers chairman's firm, Murray International, will replace The Famous Grouse, who step down after 17 years as the main sponsor, in a three-year deal. The Murray name will appear on the jerseys from November, with no advertising permitted at the World Cup this month.

"I saw it as the ideal opportunity to support my brand of companies," Murray said yesterday at a press conference at Murrayfield, a place where he played for Edinburgh Colts as an 18-year-old.

"People think of me as Rangers, but we [Murray] are a global brand; more than 80 per cent of my business is not done in Scotland so this is a wonderful platform for exposing our brand, whether it be property, metals or wine."

The multi-millionaire added: "I am delighted to be involved with Scottish rugby. It's in my heart. My boys both played rugby - they were both coached by Frank [Hadden, the Scotland coach], and I played with his brother. These people need the support. It's a big, big week for the team going to the World Cup and hopefully the players feel there is a big more commitment behind them because they are up against it."

Murray has a history of support for Scottish sport, with involvement in basketball, volleyball and hockey often overshadowed by his commitment to Rangers. He is passionate about Scottish sporting success, and hopes others will follow his lead by investing in the nation's talented youngsters.

"In Osaka there were only two Scottish athletes [at the World Championships]; we don't seem to want to get behind it," said Murray. " At Rangers we're bringing young players through because we've given them the facilities, which were long overdue. The other night we had eight or nine Scots on the pitch against Red Star. That wasn't happening [before], so we've been at fault as well; we've all been at fault as a nation, but there's a opportunity and we mustn't lose that opportunity.

"I've personally invested 15m in sport outwith Rangers so I think I'm maybe in a position to have half an idea what I'm talking about. Hopefully it gives leadership.

All I can do is say my bit today and hope somebody is listening."

Asked if he had any trepidation about investing in the SRU after his experience a few years ago, Murray replied: "None whatsoever. This has got to be supported. If we can't help the Scottish rugby team there's not much hope for any of us."