DAVID MURDOCH knows what it takes to beat the very best.

The curler reached the pinnacle of his sport, winning two world titles as well as Olympic silver and that experience will be invaluable in the coming weeks.

Murdoch retired as an athlete in 2017 but is now Scottish national coach and it is fair to say the current squad could not have a better person to lead them into what could be the biggest week of their lives.

In 50 days, the Men’s World Curling Championships will come to Glasgow and the pressure on the home players to perform will be immense. But with curling one of Scotland’s most successful sports when it comes to medals on the global stage, hopes are high that the home contingent will end the week with some silverware, perhaps even emulating Murdoch’s world titles which he won in 2006 and 2009.

However, there is much work to be done before the World Championships begin on the 18th of March at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.

This weekend, Scotland’s top rinks will fight it out at the Scottish Championships in Perth, with the winner being awarded Scotland’s place at the World Championships next month.

This weekend’s tournament is far from a foregone conclusion, with five teams all in with a realistic chance of winning the Scottish title and claiming the spot for the World Championships next month.

Murdoch has the world number four rink, Team Mouat, as slight favourites but with Team Paterson and Team Whyte also in the world’s top 15, Team Muirhead as the 2018 Olympic representatives and Team Bryce in the world’s top 30, competition will be stiff.

As national coach, this strength-in-depth in Scotland is exactly what Murdoch loves to see and he is optimistic that the battle at the Scottish Championships will set the eventual winner up nicely for next month’s World Championships.

“The Scottish always comes with a lot of pressure,” the 41-year-old said.

“And especially this year, it’s a chance to be at a home worlds. That’s not something that’s not been done here for 20 years, and so for some - you don’t know what the future projects - it might never happen again. It’s a very unique opportunity. So there probably is a bit of pressure on the teams this week and hopefully that raises the shot-making standard.

“Putting them under pressure is a good thing. It makes them battle-hardened for future championships so that experience is invaluable.

“For me, as national coach, to see the teams put under this sort of pressure and to see how they react to it is a good thing.”

Murdoch may still be involved in the sport day in, day out as he was when he was competing but being a coach is, he admits, very different to being an athlete. The transition has not, he reveals, always been easy, but having been at the very top himself does, he believes, give his coaching an extra layer.

“The biggest thing was leaving the athlete’s mentality behind,” said Murdoch.

“Hopefully my background has helped though, when it comes to the style of coaching the curlers need.

“I’d say the unique part I have is I’ve got the experience of what it was like - the pressures of daily training, the pressures of being in competition.

“But ultimately, you need to look at your style of coaching, your strategies, your policies that you want to move forward.

“And coming from that athlete background gives me a slightly different outlook on where you want the sport to go and some new ideas that I’m gradually trying to influence.”

The draw for next month’s World Championships has now been made, with Scotland opening their campaign against Italy. This event will be the first time the Emirates Arena has hosted a curling event and even 50 days out, Murdoch is already excited at the prospect of the best curlers in the world coming to Scotland.

“Glasgow is a huge sporting city and we’ve seen how the people have got behind other big sporting events in recent years,” he said.

“Hopefully people will come out and buy tickets and you get the chance to get really close to the ice and interact with the curlers.

“Curling has a fantastic following in this country but for big events like the Olympics and Worlds you get people coming for the first time. It’s a unique atmosphere at these big events.”