I’m prepared to fight but I’m not an enforcer

Fife Flyers defenceman Thomas Muir. Pic: Steve Gunn
Fife Flyers defenceman Thomas Muir. Pic: Steve Gunn
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They are the team’s bearded bruisers - a fearsome double-act who are prepared to stand up for their team mates if an opponent steps out of line.

However, Fife Flyers defenceman Thomas Muir is not looking to steal Matt Nickerson’s thunder despite getting into a fist fight in each of the last two weekends.

Flyers have one of the Elite League’s toughest enforcers in Nickerson, but Muir has shown that he is not afraid to take on the role when the situation calls for it.

Muir dropped the gloves to take retribution against Sheffield Steelers defenceman Mark Thomas last weekend following his late hit on Danny Stewart to the delight of the Fife fans.

And the 28-year-old Fifer answered the bell again on Saturday, going toe-to-toe with Chris Blight after the Dundee Stars forward barged into netminder Kevin Regan off the puck.

Muir is no stranger to spending time in the penalty box for fighting, however, he does not view himself as an enforcer.

“Getting punched in the face doesn’t make you an enforcer,” he told the Press. “It’s heat of the moment, it’s not like you’re going out and planning to do it.

“Last weekend was a really dangerous hit. Thankfully Danny’s okay but that’s the kind of thing that can put you out for weeks or months.

“If someone does something like that anyone on the ice is going to do something about it.

Muir felt he also had to step up to the plate against Dundee, insisting: “As a defenceman, you always protect your goalie.

“I didn’t see how much contact was made, but if someone hits your goalie you’ve got to make sure they don’t do it again - or do something to discourage it at least.

“This year there’s a lot more physical guys in the league, so we can’t always look to Matt to take care of everything

“It’s not anything I’ve changed in my game this season. I’ve done it in the past if I feel someone’s cheap shotted. It’s a physical sport and it’s part of the game.

“So far this year there’s just been two circumstances where I’ve been the closest guy. That’s pretty much all there is too it.”

Muir has also started the season in good form, continuing from last season where he earned the club’s Most Improved and Best British player awards.

“Awards are nice but at the end of the day you just want thte tema to be doing well,” he said. “My game is pretty simple - I just work hard, make simple plays and let the more skilful guys get to work.

“It’s helped having two defencemen back from last year, and we’ve got confidence in Kevin Regan behind us.”

Muir was speaking after the 4-2 Challenge Cup win over Dundee Stars on Saturday, which was the team’s first win of the season at the fifth attempt.

“It’s only been four games but it can quite quickly become an issue so it’s always nice to get the first win under your belt,” he said.

“It was pretty obvious that everyone was giving 100 per cent. It was one of those games you couldn’t be involved in and not give 100 per cent.

“It’s a habit we need to keep for every game this year - hard work is how this team is going to be successful.”