HeraldScotland blogger GARY JOHNSTON is with the Murray Mob in Melbourne. Here, on the eve of the Australian Open, he sets the scene
It’s hard to believe – and about as easy to swallow as a Tunnocks Teacake if you’re reading this on a typically Baltic Scottish winter’s day - but it’s a picture perfect high summer here in Australia.
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There, that makes you feel much better about the wind and the rain doesn’t it?
Yes indeed, blue skies and searing heat all the way through to April, which potential bush fires and sunstroke aside, still beats the keech out of whatever Ma Nature has in store for Pitlochry, Pittenweem or Partick.
Come on. You’d be the same if it was you.
There are loads of things you can do in Australia in the summertime –it’s the prime time to hit the beach or just chill out on your veranda in the sultry evening air, stubby and bbq’d lamb burger in hand, but I’ve decided that such dissolute, slothful comportment would, at this point in time, be distinctly unScottish.
What any true Scotsman in Oz should be doing, it seems to me, is what I will be doing – heading to the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to cheer on the Big Fella himself – Andy Murray in the Australian Tennis Open.
I have to admit, I’m not really much of a tennis fan. Years of watching Harry Carpenter, Dan ‘I say!’ Maskell and all the rest of them during the Wimbledon fortnight is enough to put anyone off the game.
And if that wasn’t bad enough there were the assorted middle-class eejits of Henman Hill put there, it always seemed to me, for the express purpose of getting right on every single person in Scotland’s thru penny bits.
No matter. This is different. This is Andy Murray. Andy Pandy-monium.
What I’m hoping to do in Melbourne is connect with Andy’s fan base, be they Scots, expats or just people who like the look of the big ginger-haired Scot with the slightly council teeth.
Why are you an Andy Aficionado? And what do you think of your boy’s chances?
One of the first things we need to do, it seems to me, is come up with a decent nickname for him. At the moment all he’s got is Muzza, which sounds like somebody’s grizzled old Border Terrier.
I think we – his ain folk – The Murray Mob - can do better than that.
Feel free to come up with your own ideas, but just remember ‘Gingerpubes’ has already been used.
Andy is the real thing – a genuine sporting hero and let’s admit it, we don’t exactly have them in spades, do we?
What’s more, he’s a decent chance not only to go far in the tournament but to actually win it; some bookies are even making him the favourite, which is a highly dangerous position for any Scottish sportsperson to be in.
The pressure. We don’t usually like it. We much prefer it when we’re outsiders, don’t we?
How will Andy respond?
Will he take it in his stride, sweeping all before him like a Marauding Reiver of old?
Or will he crumble like a McVities Biscuit in a hot tea cup?
What kind of Scotsman is he anyway?
Let’s find out.
Gary will be blogging on Murray match days during the tournament. To read his columns, and after-match reports from our sports team, don't miss HeraldScotland from Monday