Some of the first messages to turn on Andy Robertson’s phone came in from close friends who will need to be briefly reclassified as enemies next summer.
From Jordan Henderson, his trusted captain at Liverpool. From Trent Alexander-Arnold, a reflection of the Robertson raid at right-back. From Joe Gomez, the gifted central defender cruelly downed by injury.
This group of English players warmly congratulated a colleague at the club who had just led his country to success in Serbia, sealed a place at Euro 2020 and turned the page on the 22-year history of disappointment. Scotland.
Andy Robertson revealed he got tons of messages after Scotland qualified for Euro
The posts came from people like Trent Alexander-Arnold (right) and Jordan Henderson (left)
They knew exactly how much it mattered. How much Robertson wanted to replicate the joy of his Liverpool career on the international stage. Consider this box now well and truly checked.
His Anfield teammates could of course also have ended their texts with a simple signature: See you at Wembley on June 18.
An emotional clash with Auld Enemy will be the centerpiece of Scotland’s Group D campaign at Euro 2020, accompanied by Hampden fixtures with the Czech Republic and Croatia. Think of it as the thick layer of frosting on a substantial qualifying cake.
“They all texted me,” Robertson said of his associates in England. “They are all so happy for me. When I left after playing Man City all the guys wished me and Scotland good luck. They all wanted us to pass. They wanted one of their friends to do well.
Scotland have qualified for the European Championship next summer with a play-off victory over Serbia
“Obviously we’ll go to war with each other next summer, but these guys are close friends and right now they couldn’t be happier. They know how much it means to me.
The task of trying to get one can wait. Enjoying the feeling of qualifying is paramount for Robertson, who paid the warmest tributes to manager Steve Clarke for his chemistry in transforming Scotland’s fortunes.
Now unbeaten in nine outings, Clarke’s men can tie a 93-year-old record if they avoid defeat to fellow play-off winners Slovakia in tomorrow’s Nations League game.
“Going to Wembley will be an incredibly tough game, but we’ll care when the time comes,” added Robertson. “But the fact that we’ve ended a 23-year wait by then is all that matters. This is what it was about.
Robertson’s Scotland to face England, Croatia and Czech Republic in the group stage
For a man, everyone was of a different class against Serbia and I couldn’t be more proud of my teammates, manager and technical staff.
“The gaffer and the coaches have been amazing since coming in. We have a plan and we are sticking to it.
“I’m so happy to goof him because we could all see what it meant to him. He didn’t handle it as a player. But he took the job in Scotland and on the first try he took us to the Euros.
Robertson helped Liverpool end a 30-year wait for the Premier League title last season. The year before he had won club football’s biggest prize when Jurgen Klopp’s side beat Tottenham in the Champions League final.
Robertson (L) claims qualifying with Scotland is up there with Champions League victory
An obvious question is how did the feeling after the penalty shootout in Belgrade compare?
“It’s right up there,” Robertson insisted. “I was as moved as ever after a game. I spent a minute or two alone in the locker room and there were quite a few tears with a few guys.
“Look, it’s different than lifting a trophy. There is nothing better than the Champions League and the Premier League.
“But when I think about what these boys went through with some of the negativity, it means a lot. Some of our performances weren’t good enough over the years. But we have taken a step forward with this manager.
Robertson praised Scotland’s rebound ability after disappointing displays in recent years
“As a captain, I felt the burden, I felt the negativity accompany me to try to correct things. So having that elation Thursday night was amazing. It was really moving for me. But these guys deserve it.
“It’s an incredible achievement and we can look forward to summer now. I just hope and pray that we can have a full Hampden for the games there because it would be so memorable.
Robertson put on a fine personal display against the Serbs, but admitted his failure alone hadn’t come 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,” said Robertson. Otherwise it might have lasted a bit longer. It was just one of those occasions where I probably had too much time to think about it.
Ryan Christie (left) gave Scotland a 1-0 lead in Belgrade, but Serbia equalized at 90 minutes
“When the ball came to me I thought, ‘It’s true, it’s a goal’, but I snatched it, unfortunately.
“I have to do better in this kind of situation, but luckily it didn’t turn out to be crucial. We scored soon after and the rest is history.
Indeed, it is. As for the future, Robertson’s fervent hope is that a Covid-19 vaccine can pave the way for the Tartan military to follow their team next summer.
The celebrations on the pitch following the decisive end of David Marshall’s shooting on Thursday night were recorded with a single chant: No Scotland, No Party.
David Marshall rescued from Aleksandar Mitrovic in shootout to claim victory in Scotland
“I don’t know where it came from,” laughs Robertson. “I just heard it and joined me. We know this is one of the songs of the tartan army so hopefully we can hear it a lot next summer. We are back on the main stage. It’s been a long wait so we intend to take advantage of it.
‘This is what it is. The hope we have now is that Hampden is full for both games and we are going to Wembley with the fans with us. These games will be special after Covid and everything that’s gone with it.
“The country has been going through a difficult time, so I hope the vaccine fixes things.
But it has hopefully put a smile on everyone’s face in Scotland. We want everyone to be able to celebrate this together this summer.
“If it’s behind closed doors it won’t be the same, we want the fans to be with us, singing and doing what they do best. “