For Andrew Robertson, the time has come to turn plaudits into prizes. Like the club he plays for, the Liverpool left-back has been lavished with praise for the thrilling and adventurous style of football he consistently delivers.
Silverware is a more elusive commodity. Robertson’s only taste of it so far in his burgeoning career came with Hull City in their Championship play-off final win at Wembley in 2016.
The 24-year-old now hopes to start racking up trophies on a regular basis as part of a Liverpool side whose dynamism and panache under Jurgen Klopp’s management has yet to bring them any tangible rewards.
It’s now six years since Liverpool claimed a major piece of silverware, when Kenny Dalglish led them to a League Cup final triumph over Cardiff City, and Robertson accepts a return to the winners’ enclosure is long overdue.
“It’s all well and good being great entertainers but you need to win trophies and be challenging for the league,” reflects the Scotland captain.
“Obviously we hope to do that this season, but nothing has really unfolded yet. It’s a long season and plenty can happen, but hopefully this will be a successful season for us.”
It has been an eye-catching start for Liverpool, who have won their first five Premier League fixtures to set the early pace at the top of the English top flight alongside Chelsea.
They face an acid test of their credentials tonight at Anfield when they open their Champions League Group C campaign against Paris Saint-Germain, the big spending and star-studded French title holders who also have a 100 per cent record from their opening five domestic league fixtures this season.
Robertson missed out on the ultimate prize back in May when Liverpool lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Kiev. He was the first Scot to play in European football’s most prestigious occasion since Paul Lambert helped Borussia Dortmund lift the trophy in 1997.
As he prepares to face up to PSG’s renowned front three of Neymar, pictured inset, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani tonight, Robertson insists there will be no inferiority complex from Liverpool who believe they can go all the way and triumph in next year’s final in Madrid.
“It was a bittersweet ending last season but the Champions League was great for all of us,” he added. “So hopefully we can do something similar and even go one better this time round. PSG is a tough start because they are a top team, but we believe we are a top team as well.
“If you are going to get far in this competition and win the trophy then you have to play a lot of great teams along the way. Our group is difficult, with Napoli and Red Star Belgrade in there as well. PSG at home is a tough test on day one but I’m sure they will be looking at us and thinking the same.
“They are a top team but we are confident of being able to get off on the right footing. We have learned a lot about ourselves as a group, as individuals and as a club. What happened last season has brought us all closer together and made us even more hungry for success.
“We have quality right throughout the team and the squad. Personally, I feel I have improved massively training and playing with the top players we have every day.”
Robertson notched up another personal landmark during the recent international break when he was appointed Scotland skipper by Alex McLeish, an achievement which was noted with satisfaction by his club manager Klopp.
“The boss texted me straight away when he heard the news,” said Robertson. “He was delighted for me and said that in a nice message. He always follows everyone when they are away with their national teams.
“He is a world-class manager and everyone buys in to what he’s saying and how he wants us to play. How he is when you see him at the side of the pitch is the same as he is behind the scenes, he doesn’t change the way he is.
“It’s not a front for the telly, that’s him and he will continue be like that forever. He is a fantastic man-manager, the way he is publicly is what he’s like away from the cameras.
“He has great enthusiasm so if there are any low points he’s there to lift us and get us going again. He is a great person to work under, the respect he has from all of us in the Liverpool squad is obvious.”
While the Champions League can often enjoy a higher profile than international football, Robertson is determined to achieve success on both fronts.
“Getting the Scotland captaincy has been a good thing for me, it’s a huge honour,” he said. “The Champions League is the biggest club competition but it’s also a massive honour to pull on your country’s shirt and play for Scotland.
“I can’t answer which is the biggest because I haven’t played in a major tournament with Scotland yet. But I will hopefully be able to answer that in the not too distant future.”