Peter Grant believes Andy Robertson’s promotion to Scotland captain is a lesson for all those who suffer rejection early in their careers.
The rise and rise of Robertson continues apace after he was confirmed as Scotland’s new skipper.
“They are so many getting released at a young age and thinking it is the end of the world,” said Grant, one of manager Alex McLeish’s assistant coaches.
“But I think Andy’s proof that if you get that you have to keep fighting – it is one man’s opinion or one club’s opinion. It is remarkable going from selling food at Hampden to leading the team out there.”
Robertson was released by Celtic when he was 15 for being too small. He then re-ignited his career at amateur club Queen’s Park, where he sought to make ends meet by working in the events department at Hampden Park.
He continued his resurgence at Dundee United before joining Hull City. He was bought by Liverpool two years ago for around £8m. Grant described the left-back as “unaffordable” now.
“Everything he has done has taken guts,” added Grant. “For me the biggest thing it shows is there’s a hell of a lot of young players still out there – you have to give them a pathway. Andy Robertson is one you can hold up.
“We talk about grassroots, for me that is the ultimate – you get released from one club and think it is the end and then go amateur and all of a sudden you bounce back and you are playing in Champions League finals and playing exceptionally well in a fantastically talented side,” he continued.
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“The way he has led the group, the experience he has gained good and bad through that time sets him in good stead. And he has already shown his leadership qualities round about the training ground. It’s a fantastic story.”
The 24-year-old Liverpool defender succeeds Charlie Mulgrew as Scotland prepare to play their first competitive match in nearly a year.
Alex McLeish’s side have a friendly against Belgium on Friday before kicking off their inaugural Nations League campaign against Albania at Hampden on Monday.
Scotland were forced to make another personnel change yesterday when swapping the injured Oli McBurnie with Steven Naismith. Tom Cairney and Matt Phillips have already dropped out.
The 45-times capped Naismith comes in after scoring a hat-trick in high flying Hearts’ 4-1 win over St Mirren on Saturday. His last appearance for Scotland was in the 1-0 over Slovenia 18 months ago.
He joins a squad that has already given its seal of approval to the decision to install Robertson as captain. Grant stressed how the reaction of Robertson’s teammates to the announcement underlined why he was the right choice.
“You saw the respect the boys gave him today when the manager announced it,” he said. “They were as pleased for him as anyone else.
“Charlie Mulgrew has been magnificent since we took over, even going to Mexico and Peru. It would have been easy for an experienced player to pull out. He did not do that. He came and led by example.
“He will be a big part in helping Andy – it is difficult, it is not a club side where you are there day in and day out. You are leading a group who are meeting up only now and again, who are a mix of different players from different clubs.
“We have the mixture of young and old boys, we just felt we needed someone in they all look up to. There’s no doubt that’s what they do (to Andy)– we are chuffed for him.”