Scott Robinson relives thrill of wearing Hearts armband

Scott Robinson is the youngest modern-day player to wear the Hearts armband. Picture: SNS
Scott Robinson is the youngest modern-day player to wear the Hearts armband. Picture: SNS
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SEVEN days ago he became the youngest modern-day Hearts captain. Yet Scott Robinson is still very much a typical teenager.

He donned the skipper’s armband when Marius Zaliukas failed to re-appear for the second half against Dundee United and was thrilled with the “massive compliment”. Then he reminds you he is 19 and lives at home with his mum, brother and sister, where he pays digs and gets household chores done for him.

In that regard, Robinson is no different from many other 19-year-olds. What sets him apart is his on-field maturity and natural ability, which have helped establish him as a regular in the Hearts midfield this season. Consistent performances and an admirably grounded, hard-working approach serve him well. That said, the player was as shocked as anyone when manager Paulo Sergio told him to deputise for Zaliukas.

Robinson had no idea he was becoming the youngest Hearts captain of the modern era as he tugged the armband up his bicep last Saturday. Nick Ross was appointed club captain aged 19 back in 1882. Before him, Hearts’ first skipper was 20-year-old Tom Purdie in 1874, and current first-team coach Gary Locke was 20 when he was named club captain in the mid-1990s.

“A few of the boys at the club and the kitman had told me that I must be one of the youngest, but I never knew I was the youngest,” said Robinson. “I was delighted to be handed the armband. We were 1-0 down and we were wanting to get back in the game so I was focused but it was still a great honour for me.

“I was surprised when the manager handed me the armband. We had experienced players, like Rudi Skacel at 32, so when the manager shouted my name I was surprised but you just do it, and I went out and led the team. It was a massive compliment. The gaffer has shown a lot of faith in me this season and now I have to go and repay him.

“There had been no hints beforehand. Ian Black would have got the armband but after he came off the manager gave it to me and told me to just sit in the number six role and just be the boss. You have to stick together as a team and, given my age, I wouldn’t get on at people too much but you can tell players to raise their game and push on to win. If I’m asked again in future I will do it but if Zal ever was injured again I think Andy Webster would step in.”

Robinson’s innocent youthfulness shines through when he is asked about going without full wages, as the Hearts players had to do over the Christmas period and as Dunfermline’s are doing at present. “I’m only 19 and still living with my mum and brother and sister so I haven’t seen the money side of things as a problem. I’m sure it’s really hard for the older players with mortgages and kids and stuff but I can’t comment on that because it’s not affected me.

“I’ve seen the impact on the older players. Over the Christmas period in particular it was really tough for them. You could tell that they were really stressed and I felt really sorry for them. But they did their best and I think you have to respect them for getting through it. I’m still young and happy to stay at home. The wages situation hasn’t changed my mind about moving out. The time will come when I move to a place of my own. But I am 20 minutes away from training so it’s handy. I pay my digs money, my broadband, my Sky and I get my cooking, washing and all that done for me so it’s a good deal. Happy days.”

Hearts have made clear their intent to promote academy graduates in future and Robinson, already the youngest player in SPL history, is one who has benefited from being introduced to senior football early. He is looking forward to more talent emerging to join him in the first-team squad. “We’ve definitely got a lot of young players who can step in and do a job,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent here and the gaffer has already told everyone if they can impress in training they will get their chance. He’s not going to chuck too many in at the deep end at once but they will be fine, I’m sure.”