Andy Robertson just wanted his dinner as Scotland stars applauded his Champions League win with Liverpool
The Champions League winner’s medal is still glistening in Andy Robertson’s back pocket. He received a standing ovation from Scotland team-mates before dinner at the team hotel this week. The defender is on cloud nine, yet he is already targeting his next achievement.
Robertson captains Scotland tonight in Steve Clarke’s first game in charge against Cyprus. A win is vital at Hampden Park to aid European Championship qualifying hopes. After cavorting around the Estadio Metropolitano with Jurgen Klopp and a Saltire celebrating Liverpool’s success, Robertson has quickly refocused. Being national captain demands nothing less.
“I know the ones who deserved that night as much as I did and luckily they managed to get that with me,” he said. “But my full focus was on joining up with the Scotland squad. I wanted to get up as quickly as I could so I arrived on Tuesday.
“It’s been an incredible week but it’s all about trying to top it off now. Playing for your country is still the biggest honour. It’s irrelevant what we’ve won and what we’ve done [at Liverpool], it’s still a huge honour for me to lead the team out and walk out and play these important games.
“My full focus was always coming up here and, whether I was struggling or not, I was always going to come up here and at least get assessed. Luckily I’m fit and healthy and there’s no reason I can’t play.
“I don’t feel under any more pressure than the other lads. We are all desperate to get Scotland back to major tournaments and that’s a pressure we all have to deal with. If you look left and right in squad I believe we have got enough, but we haven’t shown it. That’s what we need to do.”
He did feel pressure arriving at the national team camp in Edinburgh after winning football’s greatest club prize. “I walked in just as dinner was starting. They all clapped me in, which was nice,” smirked Robertson.
“I definitely didn’t lap it up. I was just trying to find a spare seat as quickly as I could. I’m not a person who wants to be the centre of attention or anything like that. I appreciated it, but I couldn’t wait to just sit down and have my dinner.”
Being received in such a way underlined the magnitude of the achievement. He has simply been unable to reply to all the congratulations messages on his phone.
“The ones that meant the most to me were my close family because they have been through it all. They are the ones who have seen the tough times. So what I did was for all of them. To see them on the pitch and at the party after it was quite emotional.”
Fans at home were touched seeing Scotland’s flag grace such a momentous occasion. “Someone threw it from the crowd and I just grabbed it,” explained Robertson. “The gaffer saw me unveil it and just wanted to get a piece of it – luckily the photographer was there to capture the moment. I wasn’t going to say no.”
He can look back in time, but he can’t afford to be distracted now. Scotland face Cyprus today and Belgium on Tuesday amid a desperation to reach a major international tournament. Robertson was four years old last time it happened.
As for whether leading Scotland out at Euro 2020 would top winning the Champions League, let’s just get there and find out. “I can’t tell you until we do it,” he said. “I knew what we were going for and how good it would be to win the Champions League. But the feelings I felt were something I couldn’t imagine. If, or hopefully when, we qualify for a Euros or a World Cup, I will be in a better position to answer that. Leading your country out in a tournament, I know from the lads back in Liverpool that it is a huge honour. It’s something I want to do but we need to now take steps towards it.”