Andy Robertson’s rise from the lower tiers of Scottish football to the Premier League and European champions has been remarkable, yet there is still a long way to go in his career to date.
The 28-year-old has been a key cog in Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side in their recent dominance both domestically and in Europe, and also led 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 sacked by Celtic as a youngster for being too short and was picked up by amateur side Queen’s Park.
A 10-year-old tweet of his often doing the rounds, in which a then 18-year-old wrote: “Life at this age is garbage without money #needajob.”
And get a job he did.
He juggled and played 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 corporate. It took calls and orders for tickets to the concerts and the soccer games.
“There was a guy, Andrew McGlennan, who had worked at Queen’s Park for years. He weeded out many of the boys with jobs.
“He took care of me and with a bit of hard work made sure I had some money in my pocket.
“We trained twice a week at night and played games on Saturday, so I worked 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then had to train at 6 p.m..”
When Robertson was 18, he hit a crossroads; He had to decide whether to continue playing football or take a different path and apply to university or college.
He gave football another year and broke into the Queen’s Park first team. They were in the Scottish Third Division at the time but Robertson was noticed.
Signed by Dundee United in June 2013, he won PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year awards in his first season. He was also called up to the senior Scotland team for the first time.
His performances caught the attention of clubs in England.
Hull called in the summer of 2014 and signed him for £3million while Steve Bruce was her manager, joining alongside Harry Maguire, who had a similar rise through the ranks, eventually playing for Manchester United and England.
Hull’s chief scout at the time, Stan Ternent, told the Hull Daily Mail: “I think I left after 25 minutes. I’d watched Robbo before, away to Kilmarnock, and he’d been noticed from miles away. So I went back and was off halfway to call Steve Bruce. ‘Are you sure?’ he said. ‘Of course I’m sure’. And that was it.”
“I watched Stuart Armstrong [then of Dundee United and now at Southampton] but Robbo was child’s play.
“He had a history with Celtic and he was always a determined lad considering how he recovered from his setbacks. You could see right away that he had talent and he can only get better.”
It was a turbulent time at KCOM Stadium as Hull were relegated in Robertson’s first season and were promoted straight back to the Premier League the following season.
Despite Hull’s struggles on the pitch, Robertson’s shares continued to rise and Liverpool saw his potential and signed him for an initial £8million.
He initially started as an understudy to Alberto Moreno but quickly gained his place in the first team midway through the 2017/18 season and has not looked back.
Widely recognized as one of the best left-backs in world football today, Robertson continues to develop the full-back role alongside Reds teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold.
So it’s good that it didn’t work out at Celtic and said so much to talkSPORT when he spoke about it My unsung hero.
“At that moment I would have loved to have played for Celtic at Parkhead in front of 60,000 fans,” he explained.
“That was my goal when I was younger and it was taken away from me – but it stood me in good stead for what came next in my career.
“The day I was released was tough. I went home, I cried, I made sure I surrounded myself with my family, and the next day you’re back at school.
“I was a bit embarrassed to go in and tell my friends. I have a good bladder which I never take for granted, friends I’ve had since I was two or three years old.
“Football is people’s lives, some people struggle when their dream is taken away from them and they have no way 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 handle the intensity of Robertson’s game in Liverpool’s 3-1 win over the Red Devils in December 2018.
In just four seasons at Anfield, Robertson was a Premier League winner, won the FA Cup and reached the Champions League three times. He was once one of the ‘old big ears’ and is aiming for greater fame on Saturday night in Paris against Real Madrid.
And Robertson will be ready for any dark arts Spain champions have for them as he is not afraid of a confrontation with the very best after pushing Lionel Messi’s head down while refereeing during the second leg of Liverpool’s famous Champions League not looking triumph over Barcelona in 2019. He also clashed with Luis Suarez on several occasions.
Robertson has since admitted he “maybe crossed the line” in that clash with Messi, but that’s unlikely to mollify the Argentine.
But all that success doesn’t mean that all that success “Robbo” has experienced has resulted in him losing touch with his true self.
He is known as a ‘working class hero’ by Liverpool fans for having volunteered with people from Liverpool’s foodbank service in the run up to Christmas 2018.
It’s things like this that have made him a fan favorite – and now he’s one of the stars in a golden era for the club, making Robertson a club legend.
He knows how far desire can take you. The boy from Glasgow did well.