A FEW months ago, Scott Robertson could never have envisaged coming face-to-face with his old Hibs team-mates.
Having turned down the offer of a new deal at Easter Road, the midfielder made the bold decision to become the first Scottish player to play in Romania.
But the excitement he felt as he headed east to join Liga 1 outfit Botosani soon disappeared, the 30-year-old making just three appearances as a substitute while finding the promised pay packet missing, leading him to cut short his stay and return home to the family he had left behind.
Without a club, he sought training facilities with Raith Rovers, a move which led to him agreeing a deal until the end of the season and so setting up Saturday’s unexpected encounter with the club he left at the end of last season.
“It’s certainly not something I’d have thought would happen,” admitted Robertson. “But I wasn’t playing, I wasn’t getting paid and I was away from my family which was the main thing, I was missing them. So there wasn’t any point in staying. The main thing was getting out before the transfer window so that I could sign for someone here and thankfully I managed to get that sorted.”
Back in Scotland, Robertson was told by former Dundee United team-mate Jon Daly how much he was enjoying being with Raith, a conversation which led to him joining boss Ray McKinnon’s squad at Stark’s Park, his aim being no more than to keep himself ticking over until “something turned up”.
He said: “I knew of the manager but I hadn’t met him. I’d kept in touch with Jon, who said he was enjoying it, I had a conversation with the manager and things just grew from there.
“The manager worked really hard to make funds available to get me in and I was happy to sign on until the end of the season. I’m enjoying it. It’s great to have a game to look forward to at the weekend and I’m back close with my family – I can put my kids to bed at night and read them a story.” Despite his unhappy experience in Romania, Robertson, who has also played for Dundee and Blackpool, insisted he had no regrets. He said: “It was a bit of a disaster what happened but I’m glad I tried it. The way it worked out wasn’t good for me and my family in the sense I wish it had turned out differently, but I didn’t want to be left wondering what it might have been like had I not gone there.”
Having played in Rovers’ last two matches – victories over Morton and Alloa Athletic stretching Raith’s winning streak to five matches in the Championship – Robertson firmly believes Saturday’s encounter at Stark’s Park promises to be a thrilling clash, Hibs’ triumph at Falkirk in midweek seeing them leapfrog the Fife club into second place in the table. And he knows from his own experiences last season when both Raith and Falkirk made life difficult for the Capital outfit that his old team-mates will be wary of their trip across the Forth. He said: “I think some people were a bit disrespectful to both Raith and Falkirk in not including teams like us when talking of who’d be at the top of the league. I think if you’d asked any Raith fan if they’d have taken us being where we are at the moment they’d have jumped at it. We began the second quarter of the season with that win against Alloa – not a great performance but a great result – and, if we can get the same points return as we did in the first quarter then we’ll be pushing for the play-offs and to see how long we can stay up with the big two.
“But Hibs are also on a good run. I had a look at their bench for the Falkirk game and their squad is looking very strong. I’d also imagine they’ll bring more than the 1800 they took to Falkirk across here with it being a Saturday game. The Raith fans will also turn out so it should be a great atmosphere.”