Tennis is a funny old game. Supporting Andy Murray over the years has certainly accounted for at least a few of the spatterings of grey hairs on my head. Even at the sharp end in the majors and at the Olympics, sometimes the super-human effort involved in five-set matches played over several high-intensity hours can make a mere mortal used to marvelling at their own 5km running feats on Strava feel, well, very human.

Aside from the strawberries, cream and Pimms, there is awhole range of emotions: the ups, the downs, the sideways, back and forths; frontrunning and comebacks involving tantrums, smashed racquets, berating the player’s box, remonstrating with the rowdier spectators; no shortage of audacious skill and maybe a few too many unforced errors – and that’s just in a single point where Murrayis concerned.

At times, Murray has looked dead and buried on court only to summon seemingly miraculous powers of recovery. Take yesterday’s marathon match at the Australian Open against home player Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round. After losing the tiebreak in the second set to go 2-0 down, you’d have forgiven 35-year-old Murray, who has had two hip resurfacing operations, for grabbing the old Head holdall and heading for an early bath.

But in the third he forced another tiebreaker and this time closed the gap to 2-1, only to rush to a 6-3 win in the fourth set. It was now 3am local time in Melbourne. Perhaps a combination of a rigorous training regime in recent months under the watchful eye of mentor Ivan Lendl with the experience of raising four young children with wife Kim accounts for his ability to perform in the wee, wee hours. How he summoned the energy to complete the job on Margaret Court Arena defies explanation.

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The whole gripping, often see-sawing spectacle of a grand slam tennis match can be like a microcosm of the regular football season, and Murray’s powers of recovery are a football fan’s dream. His performance yesterday Down Under was like coming back from nine points behind with more than half of the season gone and the team leading showing no signs of letting up. Of course, that’s the scenario facing Michael Beale and his Rangers side in the cinch Premiership. The chances of the Englishman overseeing a comeback on that scale this season would appear slim to none, but there is still plenty to take from the former world No.1’s career going forward for the Ibrox boss in only his second job as manager.

Murray’s never-say-die attitude should inspire anyone in sport, whatever level they operate at, to leave it all out there – you never know what might happen. Sometimes it’s about just staying in the point. For Beale and Rangers, that’s exactly what they’re doing at the minute. Eight games undefeated – seven wins and a draw against champions Celtic – represent a promising start to the former assistant manager’s reign. Some of those wins involved coming from behind, and the stalemate against their rivals saw them surrender a lead at home. But ultimately, could fans of the club really have asked for a better start?

Matches like Murray’s yesterday don’t come around very often, and it’s more likely that Novak Djokovic will sit and get a Covid vaccine than Rangers peg back Celtic’s lead this term. But one other thing Beale has done is get his side into a cup final after, you guessed it, coming from behind to defeat Aberdeen at Hampden last weekend.

But it’s only the League Cup? The title is all that matters? Well, again, look at Murray. In his first Wimbledon final in 2012, the Scot came up against arguably the most gifted player the game has ever seen in Roger Federer, and the Swiss recovered from losing the first set to swat Murray aside 3-1. Many would have thrown their hands up, said there’s no beating that guy, and given in to being second best. But not Murray. At the London Olympics a month later, on the same Wimbledon Centre Court, a transformed Murray defeated the same seemingly invulnerable opponent in straight sets to land the gold medal.

It’s only the Olympics? Sure, Murray would rather have won the previous encounter. But winning is the best way to make up for disappointment – and to show your opponents you mean business. And what happened next? By the autumn he picked up his first grand slam at the US Open with a five-set victory over Djokovic. And what did he do the following summer back at SW19? That’s right, thumped the Serb in straight sets to become the first British men’s player to lift the golden trophy since Fred perry in 1936.

So, while some might scoff at this Viaplay Cup final as the sum of Rangers’ current ambitions, who knows where victory over their seemingly invulnerable rivals might lead? And even if they fall short this time, Beale must continue to challenge for every point, every game. It can be done, Andy Murray is living proof.