IT would be remiss to speak to Ross Murdoch on the eve of a major multi-sports event at Tollcross International Swimming Centre and not touch upon the night he swam into the hearts of the nation. Four years have passed since this wide-eyed boy from the banks of Loch Lomond became a household name by shocking poster boy Michael Jamieson to take the gold in the Commonwealth Games 200m breaststroke. As he prepares for his emotional return to the venue which made his name for this week’s Glasgow 2018 European Championships, Murdoch typically has an anecdote to illustrate how he become part of the family overnight.

“Whenever I go back to Tollcross now it is a bit emotional,” said Murdoch. “I go back and I am stood in the corner where the podium was. I know exactly where we were behind the curtain. Myself, [Andrew] Willis and MJ [Jamieson] just before we walked out to get the medals.

“I can see the crowd,” he added. “When I’m stood on the podium I can pick out faces that I remember. I have seen the video of it and the footage goes to a guy in the crowd just standing there. The commentator says it must be my dad. It is not my dad. But the guy actually trains here in the university and we have had conversations about it and had a good laugh about it.

“I can’t remember his name – sorry – but I see his face there. There was also boy I used to train with Craig McGlashan, then a wee bit further along was my biology teacher from school. Then obviously my real family at the end!”

So much of a party was Glasgow in the summer of 2014 that Murdoch is ever so slightly resentful that he was so close to the action he was unable to celebrate too much of it. That year’s European Championships in Berlin, which came along just four weeks after Glasgow, were also partially to blame for that, even if he did have the consolation of claiming silver medals in both the 100m and 200m breast stroke.

The Scot went one better when the continental action arrived at the Olympic pool in London two years down the line - giving him a European title to defend, even though this was an up and down year which also saw him fail to qualify for his preferred event, the 200m breaststroke at the Olympics. No wonder he feels it would be ‘special’ indeed to remind the home crowd of exactly what he can do this fortnight, and allow everybody to forget a little about all that stuff four years ago.

“It would mean the world to me,” said Murdoch, “because it has been a tough few years, although I like to think it is behind me. It would mean a lot to move it on, year on year. To know, four years down the line of what has been a tough four years, that I am still moving it on. It is about putting all that behind me and forging my path.”

Murdoch is speaking at the University of Stirling training centre, a facility which the likes of he and Duncan Scott usually have the run of. It was a different place yesterday, though, with big hitters such as Adam Peaty and James Wilby in attendance for day one of the Team GB holding camp.

Murdoch is entered into the ‘trifecta’ of individual breaststroke events – the 50m, 100m and 200m – but knows that the unique qualification process, where only the top two of each country progress past the heats, means he will have to be on his mettle from day one of the 100m heats on Friday. Peaty is re-defining what is humanly possible in that event, while Wilby beat him to the line in the 200m out in the Gold Coast by 0.3secs, or what he colloquially refers to in the vernacular as a ‘midge’s bawhair’.

Another fearsome rival in the 200m breaststroke will be a young man from Moscow called Anton Chupkov who recently became only the second man in history to break 2:07. Murdoch was actually ahead of him after 150m of the world championship final in Baku last summer, only for him to take a second and a half off him in the last 50m as the Scot was squeezed into fourth.

“It is crazy to be honest, but it is good also, because it allows us at GB to do what we are doing, take a host of young swimmers,” he said. “It tends to be two senior athletes who will be challenging for finals and two more junior athletes. For sure it keeps you on your toes.

“It was weird this morning when I was putting on my GB hat to swim in our home pool because we have a rule here that we always put our University of Stirling hats on because that is our identity,” he added. “I am wearing the other one underneath but don’t tell anybody!”

If – compared to the Commonwealth Games - this event has been something of a hard sell at the end of a crowded sporting summer for the Scottish crowd, Murdoch knows he could do with any home support going.

“It will be hard to steal anything from anybody,” he said. “But I will bite and scratch for anything, even though everyone else will be in the same boat. I am hoping the crowd are going to get behind me, because at the end of the day that is who is going to get you home. You are going to be absolutely dying, coming off that last wall and struggling through to the end. When you hear the crowd cheering for you, that is going to take you that least 25 yards.”

Lord knows he is only a young man, but with even world class swimmers the poor relation of journeyman championship footballers, Murdoch has a few ideas about how he might be gainfully employed once his swimming days are finally over. While he would be an excellent addition to the ranks of sporting pundits and commentators, he has always had half an idea of joining the police, perhaps born of having to dodge hoodlums who threw bricks at him one day on his way home from training through the schemes of Alexandria.

“I’ve got a few thoughts on what I might want to do,” he said. “I always wanted to join the police, I think it suits my personality quite well. It is not quite military regimented but it is regimented enough and I feel it would be a challenging career. I also know how rewarding it is to give something back to community, that job satisfaction is really high.

“I am not in this sport for money, it is not a money sport,” he added. “You look at other sports in a similar type of category. Athletics guys make a fortune compared to swimmers, even tennis, where for turning up at Wimbledon – of a level – you make money. But this is not something I beat myself up about, because I do it because I love the sport.”