He spent 17 months battling a career-threatening injury.
But Jamie Murphy has emerged victorious from his toughest fight, according to Scott Fraser.
Red-hot Rangers man Murphy has notched two goals in three games since signing on-loan for League One play-off chasers Burton Albion in the transfer window.
They were the first matches the 30-year-old has started since suffering a horror knee injury playing for the Gers against Kilmarnock in August, 2018.
Former Dundee United star Fraser – now Albion’s talisman – knew Murphy would have the talent to shine alongside him for the Brewers.
But the Rangers man has surpassed all expectations so far, and could play a key role in Burton’s play-off push.
“Jamie has been great,” said Fraser. “He obviously knows the gaffer, Nigel Clough, having worked with him at Sheffield Wednesday, so there was a relationship there already.
“I knew Jamie was a good player, but I’ve actually been surprised by how sharp he is, right from the off.
“He came in and was brilliant in training, and he’s scored and created goals in games, too.
“For a guy who has been out injured for so long, he’s been incredible, which is testament to how good he is and how professional he is.
“He obviously needs games, which is why he’s joined up with the gaffer again, and the environment here will be as good for him as he will be for us.
“At this stage of the season, having him in the door is a bonus for us, for sure.”
Murphy has expressed a desire to stay at Rangers for the rest of his career, and is already doing everything he can to show he’s worth a place in Steven Gerrard’s plans.
But with Burton losing Liam Boyce to Hearts, Murphy’s switch isn’t just about getting minutes into his legs.
Boyce had notched 14 goals for Albion in the first half of the season, and has added another two to his tally since switching to Tynecastle.
And, just like Murphy’s instant impact at Burton, Boyce’s flying start hasn’t surprised Fraser.
“I get on really well with Boycey, so I’d been aware things were happening in the background,” said Fraser.
“Some people have thought it was surprising that he’d go back to Scotland but, for me, it wasn’t a shock.
“Hearts are a big club with big ambitions, even if things haven’t been going particularly well for them this season.
“I know Liam likes Scotland too – as does his partner – so the chance to move back up the road to Edinburgh was attractive to him.
“Although he was a big player for us, I think if you look at the squad as a whole after the transfer window, we’re stronger as a unit now, which we’re going to need.
“We’re well in the running for the play-offs, and with the schedule being so tight, it’s important we’ve got some depth.
“With so many points up for grabs, a few good weeks can move you right up the league, which is where we want to be.”
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