Why Andy Robertson will draw on Liverpool drought to help Scotland

Hankering after something that was once enjoyed on a regular basis is not a feeling exclusive to Scotland fans.

Captain Andy Robertson during Scotland training ahead of the play-off final against Serbia (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Captain Andy Robertson during Scotland training ahead of the play-off final against Serbia (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Liverpool fans once wondered what the Tartan Army’s problem was. After all, it is only twenty-odd years since Scotland last qualified for a major finals. The Anfield club’s English title quest had stretched to a third decade by the time they were finally reacquainted with an old familiar feeling earlier this summer.

Andy Robertson enjoyed being part of that successful mission and is now bidding to end another, slightly shorter drought of 22 years since Scotland last appeared at a major finals. Play-off final opponents Serbia stand between them and their plans to rectify this matter by reaching Euro 2020 in Belgrade this evening.

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Experience of it

Robertson now has a taste for helping satisfy a deep, collective yearning. “It's very similar,” the Scotland skipper said. “When I first moved to Liverpool, you realised how desperate the fans and everybody associated with the club were to put that long wait right and get a Premier League title, which we managed to do."Ever since I was involved with Scotland, and even when I was with Dundee United seven years ago, you can feel the Tartan Army is missing going to big tournaments. They are desperate for it."We've come close before. I was involved in the Slovenia game away when we probably had to win to get a play-off for the last World Cup and we ended up drawing. You can feel how much they want it, even if they're not in the ground. You can still feel how desperate they all are. Hopefully we can do it for them."The outcome at Liverpool was a very good one and you could see the relief on a lot of people's faces and how excited they got with it. We hope the Tartan Army and the whole of Scotland feel like that on Thursday night after the game."

Been in Belgrade before

Robertson could afford to lose in the Rajko Mitic Stadium with Liverpool in a Champions League group game against Red Star Belgrade in 2018 while still going on to lift the trophy. There is no such margin for error available to Scotland this evening. The visitors must win or at least prevail in a penalty shoot-out to progress to next summer’s finals.

Robertson remembered his previous visit, in front of a 50,000 crowd, as “quite hostile”. It will be a very different experience tonight. “I’d wish nothing more than to have two or three thousand Tartan Army fans there or whatever their allocation would’ve been for the game,” said Robertson.

“It would’ve been brilliant, even if Serbia still had 95 per cent of the stadium. Our fans would’ve still been heard and it would’ve been good to have them there. However, the fact it is behind closed doors, both teams are used to it now.

“It will be an equal game in that sense. But they will still have the home advantage, they’ve got everything that goes along with that, surroundings they’re very familiar with. It probably puts them slight favourites. But we believe in ourselves and we believe if we put in a performance like we have recently it will be good enough to get a result.”

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