Andrew Robertson determined to lead Scotland to success

Andrew Robertson believes he can lead by example on and off the pitch as he prepares to kick off his Scotland captaincy against Belgium. Picture: SNS
Andrew Robertson believes he can lead by example on and off the pitch as he prepares to kick off his Scotland captaincy against Belgium. Picture: SNS
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Andrew Robertson’s remarkable rise from programme seller at Hampden to Champions League finalist with Liverpool has become so well documented, you suspect even he himself is becoming a little bored with the tale.

“I think the stage of pinching myself is behind me now,” he said, more than a little pointedly, during his first round of media duties as the new Scotland captain.

Robertson’s desire to focus on his current standing in the game and target even greater achievements for club and country, rather than repeatedly reflect on his inspiring and unusual back story, is understandable.

But it remains difficult to completely ignore reference points from his career which underline just how far he has come in a relatively short space of time. Wearing the armband will certainly be a novelty for the 24-year-old whose past experience of the captain’s role is, to say the least, limited.

“It’s a new thing for me,” he said. “Just before I left Dundee United in 2014, I was made captain for a pre-season friendly against Forfar at Station Park. I think that was maybe only in an attempt to make me stay at the club!

“It turned out to be one of my last games for United before I went to Hull City. I remember it was quite a young team the gaffer [Jackie McNamara] fielded and it was a nice feeling when he told me I was going to lead them out.

“I managed to score and get an assist, too, so it was a good day. Before that, the only other time I’d been a captain was when I was about 14 or 15 and was junior captain at Cathcart Castle golf club! But that didn’t bring much responsibility, to be honest, because I was hardly ever there because of my football commitments.

“It was probably a bit of a surprise when Alex McLeish told me on Sunday I was going to be Scotland captain but I accepted it with a big smile. Charlie Mulgrew was captain for the recent friendly games under the gaffer but we knew there would come a time when a permanent one would be named.

“Obviously it is a huge honour and I’m looking forward to it. When Charlie was substituted in the friendly against Costa Rica in March, I wore the armband for the last ten minutes or so. So there’s a wee bit of experience, but I’m still young enough that I can grow into the role. Given a bit of time, I feel I can be a good captain.”

More crucially, Robertson wants to be a successful Scotland captain as he bids to avoid the fate of predecessors such as Scott Brown, 
Darren Fletcher and Barry Ferguson who were all unable to lead the team to the finals of a major tournament in the past 20 years.

“Too long has passed with us not being there,” added Robertson whose first opportunity to end the long absence comes in the Uefa Nations League which kick starts the qualifying campaign for the Euro 2020 finals.

“The captains before me would all have said the exact same thing. I remember speaking to Darren Fletcher when he wasn’t playing, near the end of his time in the squad, and that was his 
biggest disappointment – that he hadn’t managed to get 
us back to a World Cup or a Euros.

“I don’t want that to be me. I want us to manage to get to a championship and lead the boys out. We’ve got a great chance here. Hopefully we 
can do it at the first time of 
asking.

“I think this squad is quite lucky because quite a lot of us are leaders. You can see that in times gone by, even when Broony or Fletch have been the captain, there have probably been around five or six captains on the pitch.

“So I think that is important, I feel as if I can lead by example, both on and off the pitch. But especially on the pitch, if things are going wrong for people, I can hopefully get behind them and get them going.

“I’ve learned under all the captains I’ve had. I’ve been very fortunate from the very start of my career that I’ve played under a lot of very good captains. Just now I’ve got Jordan Henderson at Liverpool, who is a fantastic captain. Since day one, I have been in there, he has looked after me and all the new players. That’s something a captain needs to do.

“Previously, I’ve had people like Michael Dawson at Hull and Sean Dillon at Dundee United, Fletch and Broony here with the national team. Both of them captained for a very long time and did a pretty good job of it. If I can be anywhere near them, I think it will be a success.”