Liverpool defender Andy Robertson was named captain of Alex McLeish’s Scotland side ahead of their friendly against Belgium at Hampden Park back in September. It was perhaps a bit of a surprise, but an immense honor for the young fullback and recognition for his solid play for his club.
Scotland were promptly hammered by four goals to none by Belgium, and even taking into account the fact that Roberto Martinez’s side is packed with talent these days, having just reached the World Cup semi-finals, it was not a good showing by Robertson and co. Scotland have not been on the wrong end of that kind of scoreline for a while, and though they were able to record a 2-0 victory over Albania three days later, the concerns remained.
Those concerns were amplified following the most recent 2-1 defeat to Israel. It was a performance that was quickly labeled a “humiliation” by observers, and the margin could have been much worse but for the heroics of Scotland keeper Allan McGregor. The rearguard looked lost at sea, and newish captain Robertson received no small amount of flak, with some fans on social media calling for him to be stripped of the captaincy.
“My performance on Thursday wasn’t good enough, I was one of the worst – if not the worst, at least in my own head,” said Robertson. “I’ve got to be better. It is probably the worst game I’ve had in a Scotland jersey and the worst result.”
In response to the criticism of his role as captain specifically, Robertson avoided being drawn further into what would be an awkward conversation, but reading between the lines, it’s easy to sense that the performances have weighed on him a little bit. He would have to be quite the stoic to not let any of this get to him at all, and ultimately Robertson is still a young defender living out a meteoric rise to prominence in just a couple of years.
“Fans can react negatively to me as that is all part and parcel of it,” he stated simply. “Since I was made captain it has happened a bit more as they see me as scapegoat. That’s fine, I can deal with that and take it on the chin. I have to up my performances and if I can do that I can help the lads too.”