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RIVER KICKY; HUNKY SAM TACKLES SOAP ROLE AS A STAR FOOTBALLER.

Byline: By John Dingwall

A HUNKY football star is set to score with a string of female admirers in the latest storyline on TV soap River City.

Andrew Murray - played by Sam Heughan - is the show's latest signing.

And Sam, 24, has been honing his football skills to tackle his role as the star striker who will line up for SPL team Livingston.

In the soap, heart-throb Andrew will arrive in Shieldinch to chase the woman of his dreams.

Sporting designer clothes and expensive jewellery, the football bad-boy who idolises Kenny Dalglish will be the talk of the town.

Yesterday, 6ft 2in Sam was put through his paces with his new teammates, Livi captain Burton O'Brien and Robert Snodgrass, at the club's Almondvale Stadium in West Lothian.

Sam said: 'My role as Andrew has really excited me as I had always dreamed of being a football star.

'Andrew Murray will be on a high wage and drives a powerful Subaru sports car, just like the real soccer stars.

'And he'll be a regular face on the Shieldinch nightlife scene but taking it easy on his alcohol consumption to try and stay fit.

'The Livi lads are all good fun and have taken to Andrew really well. I am hoping a few goals could help them stay in the Premier League.'

Livi star O'Brien said: 'Sam has obviously kicked a ball in his day and if he sticks in at the game he could have a future.

'I'll be watching the show next week to see how his character gets on and to see if the ladies will be flocking round him the way Sam has promised us.'

Sam, who grew up in New Galloway, Dumfriesshire, studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, where he was nominated as most promising newcomer.

Queen of the South fan Sam was staying tight lipped about his character's on-screen romance.

He added: 'He's not just your standard footballer. There's a bit more to him.

'He comes from a posh family with money and it's maybe a rebellious streak in him that he's not gone off to uni and got a proper job.

'He is attracted to Shieldinch by someone he likes and once he arrives,decides he wants to stay.' A BBC insider said: 'Andrew Murray will be attracting more than a few admiring glances in Shieldinch.

'With his athletic figure, star profile and flash clothes, the ladies are going to be falling over themselves to be introduced when he arrives.'

Sam has previously auditioned for the part of Clark Kent and his superhero alter-ego Superman.

He spent almost three months in Los Angeles last summer in talks over the role before losing out to American hunk Brandon Rouths.

And he recently starred as a spy in the ITV mini-series Island At War, set in the Channel Islands during World War II.

Andrew Murray's River City career kicks off on BBC1 at 8pm next Tuesday.

CAPTION(S):

SKILLS: Sam on Livi's pitch; TEAM: Sam with Robert Snodgrass, left, and Burton O'Brien
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 24, 2005
Words:511
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