• June 17, 2021

Exclusive: Andy Robertson had Celtic dream torn away as a kid and wasn’t ready to join Hull

 Exclusive: Andy Robertson had Celtic dream torn away as a kid and wasn’t ready to join Hull


It was always Celtic for Andy Robertson.

Born and raised on the green and white side of Glasgow, the 27-year-old had a Hoops season ticket aged two.

Things have turned out alright for Robertson – but Liverpool weren’t the European giant he dreamed of playing for as a boy

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Things have turned out alright for Robertson – but Liverpool weren’t the European giant he dreamed of playing for as a boy

His father Brian, who grew up with Charlie Nicholas, couldn’t become a professional footballer due to a back injury.

Luckily, he had a son who could vicariously pursue that dream of playing in front of 60,000 fans at Parkhead.

Brian, nicknamed ‘Pop’, isn’t really the emotional type – but Robertson, captain of Scotland and European champion with Liverpool, would eventually reduce him to tears.

It wasn’t at Celtic, though. They thought the left-back was too short.

Robertson’s journey to lifting the Champions League trophy and leading his country out at their first major tournament since 1998 is filled with heartbreak and disappointment.

Funnily enough, Robertson has scored at Parkhead in front of a packed crowd

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Funnily enough, Robertson has scored at Parkhead in front of a packed crowd

Those are the stories which make grown men like Pop cry.

“The way the story panned out, no I don’t wish it went further at Celtic!” Robertson tells talkSPORT in our latest episode of My Unsung Hero.

Back in 2009, Robertson’s dream was ripped away from him aged 15 when Celtic released him from their academy.

“At that moment, I would’ve loved to play for Celtic at Parkhead in front of 60,00 fans,” he says.

“That was my aim when I was younger and it got taken away from me – but it stood me in good stead for what was next in my career.

“The day I got released, it was hard. I went home, I cried, I made sure I surrounded myself with my family, and then the next day you’re back into school.

Robertson settled for third tier Scottish football with Queen’s Park

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Robertson settled for third tier Scottish football with Queen’s Park

“I felt a bit embarrassed going in and telling my friends. I’ve got a good bubble which 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’ve got no way back.

“Luckily, I went to Queen’s Park and just tried to enjoy my football.”

It was the first correct turn in a series of crossroads, the next of which involved a choice between first-team football at Queen’s Park or an undergraduate degree in 2012.

Football was the obvious answer – and it took just one campaign for Robertson’s talent to be recognised at the very top level.

Robertson found himself up against his boyhood club in 2013/14

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Robertson found himself up against his boyhood club in 2013/14

Dundee United snapped him up in 2013 for the Scottish Premiership, where he would be named PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year in his debut season.

As a player, Robertson portrays a formidable character, able to overcome any adversity thanks to a talent which seems to make life pretty straightforward.

As a person, he’s the same as the rest of us: crestfallen from setbacks, before overcoming them with the help of family and friends.

It was an unlikely friend, in the form of then-Hull manager Steve Bruce, who would help him make one of the next crucial decision in 2014.

“I wasn’t ready to leave Dundee United,” Robertson adds. “I kept on speaking to my mum and dad, my agent, my pals – I did not feel as if I was ready.

Robertson started to make a name for himself in England at the KCOM Stadium

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Robertson started to make a name for himself in England at the KCOM Stadium

“I’d only had one year as a professional and we know how the Premier League is spoken about. It’s big, physical, strong, talented players.

“One 20-minute chat with Steve Bruce changed my whole opinion.”

Robertson would impress in the Premier League, as much as one can in a relegation battle, but as recently as four years ago, well into his twenties, the Scot was very much a run-of-the-mill name.

When the Tigers went down in 2017, Everton scout Steve Walsh suggested a combined £20million deal for Roberton and some other bloke called Harry Maguire, but the Toffees didn’t fancy it.

Their Merseyside rivals took an £8m punt on Robertson and two years later, he would be claiming European football’s biggest prize while being heralded as one of the world’s best full-backs.

Robertson has enjoyed three years that most kids dream of

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Robertson has enjoyed three years that most kids dream of

“I’ve never seen my dad cry – and in that moment he couldn’t control himself.” Robertson continues.

“That really hit me because I knew what I’d done. When you see tears of happiness there’s the sense that we’ve done it, not just me, because we’ve all put towards it.”

Premier League success followed in 2020 as Robertson helped Liverpool win their first top-flight title in 30 years – and now he’ll lead out Scotland’s most promising team in decades at Euro 2020.

Not bad for a wee guy from Glasgow. His words, not ours.

“I’m just a wee guy from Glasgow who never believed this could happen,” he says. “I really am living the dream, I love this club and I want to play here for as many years as I can.

Robertson will lead Scotland out against England in their Euro 2020 group

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Robertson will lead Scotland out against England in their Euro 2020 group

“To be captain of your country, you can’t get anything better than that. Now we’ve started getting some good results, which helps!

“For me to lead my country at our first major tournament since 1998 will be so incredible, so emotional, and right up there with what I’ve achieved already.”

You can hear more from Andy Robertson: My Unsung Hero, with Chelcee Grimes, this Sunday from 9.30pm on talkSPORT





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