Andy Robertson: Liverpool stars wanted Scotland to reach Euros

Andy Robertson reveals Liverpool pals Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez were among the first to congratulate him as Scotland sealed their spot at Euro 2020… but promises it will be ‘war’ with England at Wembley next summer

  • Andy Robertson heard from Liverpool team-mates after victory in Belgrade
  • The left-back received messages from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez
  • Scotland beat Serbia on Thursday to qualify for next summer’s Championships
  • Robertson praised his country’s ability to bounce back after 23 years of hurt

Some of the first messages to light up Andy Robertson’s phone arrived from close friends who will have to be briefly reclassified as enemies next summer.

From Jordan Henderson, his trusted captain at Liverpool. From Trent Alexander-Arnold, Robertson’s raiding reflection at right-back. From Joe Gomez, the gifted central defender cruelly cut down by injury.

This group of England players offered heartfelt congratulations to a club colleague who had just captained his country to success in Serbia, sealed a place at Euro 2020 and turned the page on Scotland’s 22-year story of disappointment.

Andy Robertson revealed he received tons of messages after Scotland qualified for the Euros

Messages came from the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold (right) and Jordan Henderson (left)

They knew exactly how much it mattered. How badly Robertson wanted to replicate the joy of his Liverpool career on the international stage. Consider that box now well and truly ticked.

His Anfield team-mates could, of course, have also ended their texts with a simple sign-off: See you at Wembley on June 18.

An emotive Auld Enemy clash will be the centrepiece of Scotland’s Group D campaign at Euro 2020, flanked by Hampden meetings with the Czech Republic and Croatia. Consider it the thick layer of icing on a substantial qualification cake.

‘They have all texted me,’ said Robertson of his England associates. ‘They are all so happy for me. When I left after we played Man City, all of the lads wished me and Scotland well. They all wanted us to get through. They wanted one of their friends to do well.

Scotland qualified for next summer’s European Championship with a play-off win over Serbia

‘Obviously we’ll go to war with each other next summer but these lads are close friends of mine and right now they couldn’t be happier. They know how much this means to me.’

The task of trying to get one over on them can wait. Enjoying the qualification feeling is paramount for Robertson, who paid the warmest of tributes to manager Steve Clarke for his alchemy in transforming Scotland’s fortunes.

Now unbeaten in nine outings, Clarke’s men can equal a 93-year record if they avoid defeat against fellow play-off winners Slovakia in tomorrow’s Nations League match.

‘Going to Wembley will be an incredibly tough game but we’ll worry about that when the time comes,’ added Robertson. ‘But the fact we’ve ended a 23-year wait by then is all that matters. That’s what it was all about.

Robertson’s Scotland will face England, Croatia and the Czech Republic in the group-stage

‘To a man, everyone was different class against Serbia and I couldn’t be prouder of my team-mates, the manager and the coaching staff.

‘The gaffer and the coaches have been amazing since they came in. We have a plan and we stick to it.

‘I’m just so happy for the gaffer because we could all see what it meant to him. He didn’t manage it as a player. But he’s taken the Scotland job and at the first go he has taken us to the Euros.’

Robertson helped Liverpool end a 30-year wait for the English league title last season. The year before, he lifted the biggest prize in club football when Jurgen Klopp’s team defeated Tottenham in the Champions League final. 

Robertson (L) claims qualifying with Scotland is up there with winning the Champions League

An obvious question is how the feeling after the penalty shoot-out in Belgrade ranked in comparison?

‘It’s right up there,’ insisted Robertson. ‘I was as emotional as I’ve ever been after a game. I spent a minute or two on my own in the changing room and there were quite a few tears with quite a few of the lads.

‘Listen, it’s different to lifting a trophy. There is nothing better than the Champions League and the Premier League.

‘But when I think about what these boys have been through with some of the negativity, it means a lot. Some of our performances weren’t good enough down the years. But we have turned a corner with this manager.

Robertson praised Scotland’s bouncebackabaility from disappointing displays in recent years

‘As captain, I felt the burden, I felt the negativity lie with me to try and put it right. So to then have that elation on Thursday night was amazing. It was definitely emotional for me. But these lads deserve it.

‘It’s an amazing achievement and we can look forward to the summer now. I just hope and pray we can have a full Hampden for the games there as it would be so memorable.’

Robertson produced a fine personal display against the Serbs, but admitted relief that his one lapse didn’t ultimately prove costly. Set up by Lyndon Dykes, he skied a golden opportunity to give Scotland the lead early in the second half.

‘Luckily, Ryan (Christie) scored right after it,’ reflected Robertson. ‘Otherwise it might have lingered a bit longer. It was just one of those chances where I probably had too much time to think about it.

Ryan Christie (left) gave Scotland a 1-0 lead in Belgrade but Serbia equalised on 90 minutes

‘When the ball came to me, I thought: ‘Right, this is a goal,’ but I snatched at it, unfortunately.

‘I need to do better in that sort of situation, but luckily it didn’t prove crucial. We scored soon after that and the rest is history.’

Indeed it is. As for the future, Robertson’s fervent hope is that a Covid-19 vaccine can clear the way for the Tartan Army to follow their team next summer.

The on-field celebrations that followed David Marshall’s decisive shoot-out save on Thursday night were soundtracked by a simple chant: No Scotland, no party.

David Marshall saved from Aleksandar Mitrovic in the shootout to earn Scotland the win

‘I don’t know where that came from,’ laughed Robertson. ‘I just heard it and joined in. We know it’s one of the chants of the Tartan Army, so hopefully we can hear it a lot next summer. We’re back on the main stage. It’s been a long wait so we intend to enjoy it.

‘This is what it’s all about. The hope we have now is that Hampden is full for the two games and we go to Wembley with the fans with us. Those games will be special after Covid and everything that’s gone with that.

‘The country has been through a tough time, so I hope the vaccine sorts things.

‘But this has hopefully put a smile on the face of everyone in Scotland. We want everyone to be able to celebrate this together come the summer.

‘If it’s behind closed doors it won’t be the same, we want the fans with us, singing their hearts out and doing what they do best.’

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