Scott Murray tells story behind Cardiff goal celebration in revealing interview on his career and life today

In our first episode of a new series called Legends of Bristol, journalist Neil Maggs put the questions to Scott Murray at Ashton Gate - and discovers the story behind his goal celebration at Cardiff City

Running up to the opposition fans and cupping his ears, Scott Murray’s goal celebration is forever stitched in City folklore, emblazoned on a giant flag in the section 82 terrace at Ashton Gate.

Taking place in the Severnside derby on December 29 2001, rarely has the exhilaration of scoring in a match between two arch-rivals been better demonstrated, but it was actually his actions after the goal before that really incensed the crowd.

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What he did, who tricked him into doing it and his total innocence to the Severnside derby rivalry is revealed in an exclusive interview with journalist Neil Maggs.

Part of a new series of filmed interviews called Legends of Bristol, we get a guided tour behind the scenes at the Bristol City stadium. For it is there where Murray, who scored 91 goals in 401 appearances for the club in two spells from 1997 to 2003, and 2004 to 2009, has been kit man for over a decade.

In our first episode of Legends of Bristol, Neil Maggs talks to former Bristol City star Scott Murray

One of the most popular players for the Robins, Murray explores his life before, during and after football. He talks his favourite moments in the red shirt, his most difficult times, and why he returned to Ashton Gate so swiftly after leaving for Reading FC.

Seeing a few managers and players come and go in his time at the club, as both player and now kitman, he explores the differences today in a modern football club.

But it is perhaps his recounting of the goal celebration against Cardiff that is most revealing, one which he first revealed in a book called ‘Bristol City: Match of My life’ by Neil Palmer in 2019.

It started as a wind-up from his friend, Cardiff City player at the time, and son of former City manager Joe, Andrew Jordan. Murray said: “So he’s come in (to the changing room) and said Scotty if you score today tap your head. And I said what you on about tap your head. He said, just tap your head.”

‘Just tap your head’ - Scott Murray reveals the story behind his famous goal celebration against Cardiff City with Neil Maggs

Murray did score, and subsequently tapped his head and described how the crowd went ‘mental’ and he had no idea why.

Now being booed at every touch, he scored again, and not only tapped his head but cupped his ear and ran the full length of the pitch to the Bob Bank Terrace, where all the hardcore Cardiff fans go. Murray continued: “They are going mad. Next thing I know I am catching coins; they are all throwing coins at me.”

In Palmer’s book he recalled that he had about ‘£15 bounce off my head in change.’ And finding out after the game that it’s a Cardiff celebration, he understood why it being used against them was the ultimate insult.

Called the Ayatolla, it was inspired by Welsh-language punk group U Thant. The band do this and encourage fans to join in, after being inspired by footage at the funeral of former Iranian religious leader Ayatolla Khomeini, where attendants did the movement to express their grief at his death.

Scott Murray, who cored 91 goals in 401 appearances for the club, revealed the story behind his celebration against Cardiff City in his interview with Neil Maggs

The Cardiff fans initially used it as a sign of despair, an ironic gesture at how bad the team were playing, but it soon became reclaimed and used for celebration.

So in the eyes of Cardiff fans, the City winger was mocking and expressing faux grief at them losing. Jordan’s plan was clearly for the crowd to turn against him, but did his trick really work? Not for Murray, who relished the boos. He said: “Andrew Jordan stitched up his own team up really - brilliant.”

Watch the full interview with Scott Murray and Neil Maggs on our new Legends of Bristol at the top of this page.