GLASGOW has produced some of Ross Murdoch’s happiest memories and in just three weeks time, the 24-year-old will be back in the very pool that made his name.

Four years ago, the University of Stirling swimmer won a memorable gold medal on the opening night of Glasgow 2014 and next month, he will return to Tollcross Poll in Glasgow’s east end to make his assault on the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.

Five sports will simultaneously hold their European Championships in Glasgow, with golf also in Gleneagles and athletics in Berlin. This is the first time this format has been used for European Championships and Murdoch admits the development has added another level of prestige to the event.

“I’d always wondered why we don’t have multi-sport events for European Championships because we have the World Universities so it can be done,” the Glasgow 2018 ambassador said.

“I remember watching swimming and athletics European Championships during summers when I wasn’t competing myself and them both being on telly at exactly the same time and me wondering why they were being held in different cities.

“I know there’s logistical issues but I’m so glad they’ve been able to sort it for this event – it makes it feel like it’s a different level of competition.

“In my head, the European Championships has always come second to Worlds, Olympics or the Commonwealth Games but this has taken it up another level and it’s a bit more of a serious competition.”

Murdoch has competed in Glasgow a number of times throughout the course of his career and the pool in Tollcross is, he admits, one of his favourite venues in the world. And the Scottish crowds could, he believes, see something quite spectacular at Glasgow 2018, which runs from the 2nd until the 12th of August.

“Some people say that the Glasgow pool isn’t fast, that’s it’s only 2 metres deep and you need it to be 3 metres for really good times but I 100 percent believe that a world record can be set in that pool and that it’s one of the fastest pools in the world.

“Especially when it’s dressed up like it was in 2014 – there’s about 5000 people and it’s louder than any venue I’ve ever been in. It’s very intimate and the crowd are on top of you.

“In a lot of places, you’re not conscious of that but Glasgow is the loudest place I’ve ever swum.”

When Murdoch went into the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games four years ago, he was something of an unknown outwith the swimming world and was able to fly under the radar somewhat. However, having picked up a shelfful of international medals in the intervening four years, no longer does he enjoy the luxury of having little pressure on his shoulders.

It is a situation he both misses and is glad of.

““Being Scottish, you grow up being the underdog,” he said.

“Anything you watch on television, you support the underdog and want the underdog to win. And when that does happen, it’s brilliant so I think that’s the ideal situation for anybody.

“I don’t think anything could really live up to Glasgow 2014 for me because everything went perfectly – nothing went wrong that whole season for me, it was just perfect and then the end result was perfect too.

“So it’d be fun to be in that position again but I don’t think it is ever going to be like that again. And that’s the pressure I put on myself, I don’t want it to be like that again because I want to prove to myself that I’m good enough to hold form throughout the years.”

Murdoch, who is defending European champion in the 200m breaststroke, admits that considering the strength of the opposition, which is far greater than at the Commonwealth Games, winning gold once again would be a quite an achievement. And it is the thought of victory that pushes him through his training sessions, even when he is having a hard day.

“The European Championships and the Commonwealth Games are very different competitions, he said.

“In some respects, the Commonwealth Games is more difficult with the travelling and the heat and everything whereas Glasgow is a lot more familiar but the competition is a lot more challenging in terms of the depth.

“At the Europeans, the top 16 guys are all incredibly strong so even just making it from the semis to the final is not going to be easy.

“But to win gold would be unbelievable, it would be amazing. It would be a defence as well and so it would be crazy to stand on top of the podium again, in Glasgow. My family and friends will be there and it would be a really special moment.

“I definitely think about standing on the top of the podium – it helps when you’re in training and you picture it being your last 50m and you touch the wall and you’ve won again.

“That’s what helped me before Glasgow the last time. You’ve got to let yourself dream because if you don’t, there’s no fun in it.”