But his career at the Riverside was ruined by injury problems and he accepted an offer from then Hibernian manager Tony Mowbray to make a fresh start at Easter Road.
A three-year spell in Scotland got him back on track and now he cannot wait to test himself in the top flight after his initial false start.
"I was injured in the final pre-season game and was out for the next four months.
"He has gone on to further his career and I now hope to do the same.
"I did have a fair crack at Middlesbrough and was involved a lot but a couple of injuries held me back and that is why I decided to move on.
"I'm looking forward to be playing in the Premier League. It's one of the hardest in the world and to test myself at this level is always something I wanted to do.
"I was with Hibs for three and half years and I feel this is the right time to move.
"I had a great time there but there always comes a point when you have to progress.
"It was a pretty straight forward move for me once I knew Birmingham were interested."
Birmingham's perilous league position did not put off Murphy when the call came from St Andrews.
Murphy is confident Birmingham can get out of trouble and he added: "I didn't think too much about Birmingham's position when I was asked to sign.
"Birmingham is a big club and I am sure that we can survive."