So much was this the case that the skipper had to tell the Rangers right wingback to calm down. Patterson, just 19-years-old, had already tried to chip his opposite man while not far out from his own box to quell any fears that he might be overawed by the occasion of his full debut at Hampden in front of over 40,000 home fans.
Then he set off on a productive run from which was sourced Scotland’s winning goal. Patterson intercepted a loose ball from Maxim Potirniche and then bore down on goal. A quick one-two with Kevin Nisbet set him for a strike and though the goalkeeper clawed the ball away, Lyndon Dykes followed up to score a crucial goal for Scotland.
Steve Clarke’s side now move on to Vienna for tomorrow night’s game against Austria, who lost 5-2 to Israel on Saturday night and slipped to fourth place in Group F. Providing Denmark beat Israel on the same evening, Scotland will move up to second place if they collect three points in Vienna. It seems just the night for fearless teenagers like Patterson.
Who better to run the view over him than Robertson, who was earning his 50th cap against Moldova at the same time as Patterson was making his Hampden bow.
“Nathan I thought was excellent, especially in the first half,” said the skipper. “He was the one being aggressive in the press. He was the one who made the goal, really. In the first ten minutes he looked as though he was maybe a wee bit excited and erratic, so luckily we managed to get hold of him at the goal and tell him to calm down!
“He did that and started to pick the passes. I thought he was excellent.”
Patterson’s performance was more remarkable given that it came on the back of a period where he was forced to self-isolate after being identified as a close contact of a Rangers teammate who had tested positive for Covid. It meant him missing Scotland’s 2-0 defeat to Denmark last week.
“He’s had, what, five days of isolation? So I don’t know how much training he’s done during that time,” wondered Robertson.
“But that’s part and parcel of the learning.” Robertson is still only 27 but he is reaching the other end of his career compared to Patterson and Billy Gilmour, who earned his second man of the match award in just three competitive international appearances to date.
“I remember when I was their age,” he said. “Both of them were great (v Moldova). I thought Billy, well, you know he’s always Billy, always gets on the ball, looks to create something, he doesn’t shy away from taking it on. I thought they were our two best players – and long may that continue.”
Both will be central to Scotland’s hopes tomorrow in what is essentially a cup final. “We knew when the fixtures came out we looked at this as a big week, even not knowing what we would do beforehand,” said Robertson.
“Playing the two seeds who are above you away from home is always big,” he added. “It was a disappointing night on Wednesday against Denmark, it was important we got the three points (v Moldova). Tuesday we go over there and try to win.
“They probably need to win now as well given their (last) result so I’m sure they will come out quick and try to get the three points.”
The personal significance of Saturday night had to be acknowledged. Someone who once sold programmes at Hampden had made it to a half century of appearances for his country.
“Obviously, it was a huge night for me and my family, I’m proud to get 50 caps,” he said. “When you get one you just want to keep going and you don’t think too far ahead.
“This milestone is huge for me, I love playing for my country, I love turning up.
"It was important I put that to one side. We needed the win. We got off to a good start, got the goal and we should have got more. It was one of those nights where three points was the most important thing.
“I’d love to be sitting here with a 3-0 or 4-0 victory but it’s three points on the board and that’s the most important thing.”
It says everything about Robertson’s importance to the cause that he was replaced at the same time as Gilmour. Clarke was clearly wishing to spare his key men prior to tomorrow night. Robertson brushed off concerns he was struggling with an injury.
“It was always the plan to come off,” he said. “I think I was probably meant to come off at half-time, the way the gaffer was talking. But he wanted me to stay out there and I wanted to stay out to hopefully get the second goal.
“Look, I’m getting a wee bit older – but not really having a pre-season, not really training since before the Euros really … I played against Chelsea last week, I played on Wednesday, I played against Moldova.
“That’s three really intense games in six days and sometimes you need to be a bit smarter. So the gaffer took us off. My body is tight. But come Tuesday I’ll be ready to go.”