Andy Robertson’s rise from the lower leagues of Scottish football to the Premier League and European champions has been remarkable and yet there is still much to add to his storied career so far.
The 28-year-old has been a vital cog in Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side in their recent domestic and European dominance, while leading his country to their first major tournament since 1998.
The left-back came from humble beginnings in Scotland before his journey took him to Dundee, Hull and then his big move to Liverpool in 2017.
Robertson was released by Celtic as a youngster for being too small and was picked up by the amateur side at Queen’s Park.
One of his 10-year-old tweets often makes the rounds where an 18-year-old wrote, “Life at this age is shit with no money #need a job.”
And get a job he did.
He juggled playing for Queen’s Park, trained with them in the evenings and worked full time at Hampden Park answering the phone.
“Queen’s Park was amateur so you don’t get paid,” Robertson told the Liverpool Echo in 2017.
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“I worked in the corporate sector. He received calls and ticket orders for concerts and football matches.
“There was a guy, Andrew McGlennan, who had worked at Queen’s Park for years. He sorted out a lot of boys with jobs.
“He took care of me and made sure I had money in my pocket with a bit of hard work.
“We trained twice a week in the evenings and played games on Saturdays, so I worked 9am to 5pm and then had to train at 6pm.”
When Robertson was 18, he hit a crossroads; he had to decide whether he should continue playing football or take a different path and apply for university or college.
He gave football another year and broke into the first team at Queen’s Park. They were in the Scottish Third Division at the time, but Robertson was starting to get noticed.
He was signed by Dundee United in June 2013 and won the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year award in his first season. He also got his first call-up to the Scottish senior team.
His performances meant English clubs were starting to take notice.
Hull came calling in the summer of 2014 and signed him for £3m while Steve Bruce was their manager, joining alongside Harry Maguire, who enjoyed a similar rise through the ranks and ended up play for Manchester United and England.
Hull chief scout Stan Ternent told the Hull Daily Mail: “I think I left after 25 minutes. I had watched Robbo before, gone to Kilmarnock, and he had stood out a mile. So I went back and was gone at halftime to ring Steve Bruce. ‘Are you sure?’ he said. “Of course, I’m sure”. And that was it.
“I was watching Stuart Armstrong [then of Dundee United and now at Southampton] but Robbo was the obvious.
“He had a history with Celtic and he was always a determined lad considering how well he recovered from his setbacks. You could see right away he had ability and he could only improve.
It was a turbulent time at the KCOM Stadium as Hull were relegated in Robertson’s first season and then promoted straight to the Premier League the following campaign.
Despite Hull’s struggles on the pitch, Robertson’s stock continued to rise and Liverpool saw his potential and signed him for an initial fee of £8million.
He first started as an understudy for Alberto Moreno but quickly earned his first-team spot midway through the 2017/18 season and hasn’t looked back.
Robertson is now widely recognized as one of the best left-backs in world football and he is evolving the full-back role with his Reds team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold.
So it’s a good thing it didn’t work out at Celtic and said as much to talkSPORT when speaking on My unsung hero.
“At that time I would have loved to play for Celtic at Parkhead in front of 60,000 fans,” he explained.
“It was my goal when I was younger and it was taken away from me – but it helped me a lot for the rest of my career.
“The day I was released was hard. I went home, I cried, I made sure to surround myself with my family, and then the next day, you go back to school.
“I felt a bit embarrassed to come in and tell my friends. I have a good bubble that I never take for granted, friends I’ve had since I was two or three years old.
“Football is people’s life, some people struggle when their dream is taken away from them and they have no way to go back.
“Luckily I went to Queen’s Park and just tried to enjoy my football.”
Jose Mourinho even admitted his Manchester United side couldn’t cope with the intensity of Robertson’s play in Liverpool’s 3-1 win over the Red Devils in December 2018.
In just four seasons at Anfield, Robertson became a Premier League winner, lifted the FA Cup and reached the Champions League three times. He was once an ‘Old Big Ears’ and is aiming for more glory against Real Madrid in Paris on Saturday night.
And Robertson will be ready for all the dark arts the Spanish champions have going for them given he’s not afraid of a showdown with the very best, having shoved Lionel Messi’s head down as the Referee was not watching during Liverpool’s famous Champions League second leg. triumph over Barcelona in 2019. He also faced Luis Suarez on several occasions for good measure.
Robertson has since admitted he ‘may have crossed the line’ in this clash with Messi but that is unlikely to appease the Argentine.
But all of that success doesn’t mean that all of that success “Robbo” has had has led to him losing touch with his true self.
He is known as the ‘working class hero’ by Liverpool fans after volunteering with people at the Liverpool Food Bank Service in the run up to Christmas 2018.
It’s things like this that made him a fan favorite – and now he’s one of the stars of a golden period for the club, making Robertson a club legend.
He knows how far desire can take you. The lad from Glasgow did well.