'Up there with Jamie Vardy': John Colquhoun on his friend and former Hearts teammate John Robertson
Robertson, Colquhoun believes, was just as good as some of the contemporary stars of the English Premier League he has represented. He has been helping his old friend promote “Robbo”, and reminiscing on the good times they enjoyed together.
“There is a reason why we would call him the Thunder Thief! I would beat five players, get to the byline and cross it in and then Robbo would knock the ball in from two yards. All the headlines the next day would be: Robbo does it again!,” laughed Colquhoun.
“We were quite happy with that - he was a great, instinctive finisher. It is a skill that cannot be learned – all sorts of different goals - either foot, with his head, but he was just a special player and is a special guy.
“He’s up there with Jamie Vardy and I have represented some top strikers. I was also lucky enough to play with Brian McClair, Mo Johnston and Alan McInally and Robbo can compare with all of them as a finisher. He was absolutely top quality.
“When you go down to England they are always going to go for a good big ‘un opposed to a wee good wee ‘un. While not being the most athletic, in terms of finishing and finding space in the box he was as good as anyone I played with. He was a fun guy to be around.
He added: “We were lucky in that team. We had a great connection. I haven’t seen the wee man for over two years, but it is just like you saw him yesterday.
“Yes, we came up short a lot of the time but we had a fantastic time doing it. I’d rather have fallen just short than bumping along the bottom all the time."
Earlier this year Robertson spoke of the mental health impact the covid lockdown had on him, leading to time off as manager at Inverness. His father died when he was 14, having never seen him play professionally. But Colquhoun paid tribute to his friend and former team-mate for the success he achieved at Tynecastle.
"The wee man has not always had the easiest life. That’s something fans sometimes do not recognise – the back stories – we all have things that form us. They are not always good.
“We knew some of the tough times John had, but like everyone, when you come into a football club you pull a mask on. You do it in life at times, we all do, and John had to pull a mask on and come in and train.
“There are other factors that affect people’s lives. Robbo carved a marvellous life for himself and his family by working hard. People talk about the fat striker, but he worked hard. “You don’t get to be at that level unless you really graft. That’s why I had a lot of admiration and respect for him. He is a friend first and foremost, whatever he gets from now on, he deserves it.”
Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on Scotsman.com - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.