Andy Robertson’s first match as Scotland captain turned out to be a nightmare as his team suffered a 4-0 pasting at the hands of Belgium.
Here Football Paradise assesses the Liverpool defender’s first display since taking over the armband.
Robertson’s association with Hampden stretches back to his days as a Queen’s Park player and he got a hero’s welcome as he returned to the National Stadium for the first time as skipper. He got the loudest cheer of the night as his name was read out before kick-off – but that was as good as it got for the 24-year-old. With the ground less than half full and Belgium in no mood to take it easy, you could hear a pin drop for most of the 90 minutes as the Scots suffered their heaviest home defeat in 45 years.
Four individual mistakes ultimately cost Alex McLeish’s team as Belgium ruthlessly exploited the openings they were afforded but nobody can point the finger of blame at Robertson for the goals tucked home by Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard before Michy Batshuayi’s double. He had Dries Mertens to look after initially and did reasonably well up against the Napoli frontman. However, the danger of playing with a wing-back as keen to get forward as the Anfield ace is that space is all too often left in behind and he was lucky that Timothy Castagne did not do better when he ran loose on a couple of first-half occasions.
Robertson’s rise from Third Division amateur to Champions League finalist with Liverpool has much to do with his ability to race forward and provide pin-point deliveries from wide on the left. But there was little scope for the former Dundee United and Hull full-back to show the offensive side to his game as Belgium utterly dominated. His rare forays forward saw him make one early burst up-field which failed to trouble the visitors. He then made a second charge after nicking possession but his attempt to link up with Callum McGregor broke down after a slack pass.
The softly-spoken Glaswegian is not afraid to make himself heard but his idea of captaincy looks to be based more on leading by example that rousing auditory. Unfortunately it is hard to raise spirits when up against a side packing such devastating firepower as Roberto Martinez’s side. The true test of Robertson’s influence will come in the next few days as he looks to soothe his squad’s battered pride ahead of Monday’s Nations League opener against Albania.
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