Goal hero Andrew Robertson rues defensive slips

Andrew Robertson was treated like a hero at St Josephs in Busby. Picture: Jeff HolmesAndrew Robertson was treated like a hero at St Josephs in Busby. Picture: Jeff Holmes
Andrew Robertson was treated like a hero at St Josephs in Busby. Picture: Jeff Holmes
IT WAS the morning after the night he had become the first Scottish player to score against England in Glasgow for 29 years, but Andrew Robertson didn’t feel like much of a hero as he kept an appointment at his old primary school in East Renfrewshire.

Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat at Celtic Park was the source of a restless night for the Hull City left-back, his first goal for his country overshadowed in his mind by his unhappiness with his part in Scotland’s defensive failings against the old enemy.

But for the pupils of St Joseph’s in Busby, a hero is exactly what Robertson is. As role models go, they don’t come much more inspiring than the 20-year-old who has made the remarkable journey from Scottish fourth tier football to the English Premier League within the past two years.

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Robertson was cheered to the echo by the wide-eyed children when he arrived at the school yesterday to support Tesco Bank’s community football challenge programme in partnership with the SFA.

Andrew Robertson was treated like a hero at St Josephs in Busby. Picture: Jeff HolmesAndrew Robertson was treated like a hero at St Josephs in Busby. Picture: Jeff Holmes
Andrew Robertson was treated like a hero at St Josephs in Busby. Picture: Jeff Holmes

It helped lift the spirits of the former Queen’s Park and Dundee United player who admits he may take some time to take any lasting satisfaction from producing the high point of a generally lacklustre Scottish performance against England.

“I didn’t get much sleep last night,” he said. “I went straight home and straight to bed, but there was a lot of tossing and turning. I was thinking more about my defensive performance, not the goal. It’s disappointing.

“I’ll find out in time about being able to reflect on the goal but for now it’s at the back of my mind. I’m more disappointed about the overall performance and my own performance. It’s bittersweet.

“Looking back at England’s first goal, I probably should have tucked in and tried to block Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain before he scored. Even if I did, it was an absolutely world-class ball from Jack Wilshere, so I don’t know how much I would have been able to stop it. But I would have been much happier if I had followed him in and tried, rather than just letting him go.

“For their second goal, it could probably happen another 100 times that the ball would ricochet off me like that and not fall on Wayne Rooney’s head. I didn’t have much time to react. I didn’t know if someone was behind me so I felt I had to get a leg on it. Unfortunately, it went to the head of a deadly finisher. I wasn’t so annoyed with that one, but I feel I should still have done better.

“We knew we hadn’t played our best at half-time. The gaffer tried to change the shape to get us back into it. But to lose a goal so early in the second half killed all that talk from the changing room.


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“We dug deep after that. We still weren’t playing well but after losing an early goal they could have gone on and scored a couple more. We got ourselves back to 2-1 for a short time but England deserved to win overall.

“You can say that 2-0 is the worst score for a football team. Once we got a goal back at 2-1, it was disappointing we couldn’t put pressure on them for the last ten minutes. Instead, they went up the pitch and scored again so quickly. But, as I said, looking back on the game we probably didn’t deserve anything. We have no complaints overall.

“It’s a tough one personally. A normal person would probably have been delighted to score against England to get their first goal for Scotland. But I’ve already forgotten about it. We got beat 3-1 and that’s the most annoying thing for me. I thought I could have done better personally in a defensive sense. And first and foremost I am a defender. So if I could have swapped the goal for a clean sheet, I would have.

“I was obviously delighted to see it hit the back of the net at the time. It was a proud moment for me and my family. After the game I was just disappointed, but maybe for that minute or two I could just enjoy the feeling and hope that I’d helped us get back into the game. Sadly, though, England went up the park and scored.”

Robertson’s goal was Scotland’s first on home soil against England since another former Dundee United player, Richard Gough, scored the winner at Hampden in 1985. Maintaining the Tannadice connection on Tuesday was Robertson’s clever link-up for the goal with Derby County’s Johnny Russell, his former United team-mate, who made an eye-catching Scotland debut as a second half substitute.

“Johnny did really well when he came on,” added Robertson. “He was direct and he was running at players. The cutback for me was great. He could easily have played it across goal but he picked me out. I was just happy to see it hit the back of the net. He made a good impact when he came on.

“But the English players were a better standard than us on the night. We never played to our best. Hopefully we can get a shot at them again and show what we can do. Hopefully they will be in for a much tighter game next time. But this time their standard was much higher than ours.

“The next time the squad meets up, we can analyse it and see what went wrong. That will help us for the future. There were a lot of fans and media saying we were a good team but we knew we still had work to do. We’ve got off to a good start in the Euro 2016 campaign, which is the main thing overall, and hopefully we can kick on from there.

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“Playing England is a massive game, so the fans, players and staff are all bothered at the defeat. But the main thing over the next two years is that we qualify for France. If we do that, then I’m sure Tuesday night will be forgotten about to some extent. The priority for us is to get back to the top end of international football at a major tournament finals.

“We can take a lot from both the Ireland and England games. Friday night was a great team performance. We were delighted with the way we played, defensively and in attack. We were the ones trying to get the ball down and play. I thought we did it magnificently – the goal was special and we got the three points.

“But we can also look into Tuesday night and see what went wrong. We can just try to improve upon it.”

Robertson made his fifth senior appearance for Scotland on Tuesday, maintaining his rapid rate of progress in what has been a remarkable 12 months for him.

“If you had said a year ago that I would have got five Scotland caps in 2014, I would have said you were a liar,” he admitted.

“Looking back on it, I’m delighted I can represent my country in such big games. Hopefully there are a lot more happy memories to come.

“I haven’t felt out of place at international level. Friday night against Ireland was a tough test. Seamus Coleman and Aiden McGeady are great players going forward and I felt Ikechi Anya and myself dealt with them well. They didn’t really get anything down our side of the pitch. I was happy with how I played defensively on Friday.

“But Tuesday night just didn’t go for us, really. Overall, the team were better on Friday than we were against England.

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“I don’t really set myself targets and challenges. I just try and take everything that comes to me. We will see what is coming in 2015. Hopefully we will still be talking about me playing for Scotland and doing well for Hull City.”


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