The Scotland skipper had held out hope he might join Alex McLeish and his players in Astana, where they take on Kazakhstan in the opening qualifying game. The Liverpool left-back was left behind in Glasgow on Sunday evening for treatment on a mouth abscess. Robertson had played that afternoon in Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Fulham.
As late as Monday night he was determined to find a way to get to Astana in time to contribute on the pitch. However, after further talks yesterday, it has been decided he should meet up with his team-mates on Friday for the second assignment of the international double header against San Marino.
Scotland are due to fly out from Astana on Friday at 8pm local time and should arrive at their base in Italy at what is early evening there.
Celtic’s Kieran Tierney is almost certain to cover for Robertson at left-back tomorrow night, fitness permitting. He could well also take over the skipper’s armband having led Scotland before.
Tierney did not take part in training yesterday as a precaution and remained at the team hotel. The rest of the Scotland squad trained at an indoor facility called the House of Football in Astana as the temperature remained well below freezing outside.
Tierney only recently returned to the Celtic first-team after being forced to rest a pelvic problem. He will be assessed after training today. He does at least know what to expect having played for Celtic on the artificial surface at the Astana Arena twice in Champions League qualifiers.
“Since the injury I haven’t trained on it [an artificial surface] or played on it,” said Tierney. “Until after training I won’t know how I will react to it, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. It’s how I react to training on it and how my body reacts. So far there have been no indications I will struggle on it.”
He admits it did not look likely he would be in Kazakhstan a short while ago. He only returned to action with Celtic towards the end of last month. “When you are back playing you just think about your next game and if you get the call-up it’s like an added bonus for you,” he said. “You are not expecting the call because you are just back from injury. But it’s a pleasure to be here. I’m just grateful for the chance.”
Barry Bannan, Charlie Mulgrew and Jordan Archer have already pulled out of both qualifying games. Like Robertson, Cardiff City’s Callum Paterson and Ryan Fraser of Bournemouth will join up with the squad prior to the San Marino fixture after an agreement was reached with their clubs not to play them on the Astana’s artificial surface.
Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna trained by himself yesterday – the only one to do so – as he seeks to overcome a thigh injury to be included in the side tomorrow. Pittodrie manager Derek McInnes expressed doubts about whether McKenna would be able to play following Aberdeen’s 1-1 draw with Livingston on Saturday.