AS the likes of Barry Douglas will no doubt testify, it is a tough time to be a Scottish left-back with international aspirations. With Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney on the scene, chances to force your way into the national team head coach Steve Clarke’s thinking are few and far between.

The stars though just may have aligned during this international double-header for Celtic left-back Greg Taylor, who is struggling to get much of a look-in for his club at the minute, never mind his country.

The 22-year-old will have been given a boost though by the words of Scotland’s captain, as the injured Robertson gave the former Kilmarnock man his vote of confidence to fill the void he and Tierney have regrettably left in the full-back area for Saturday’s game in Cyprus.


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“We have two vital games in March and these games are important for that, which is why I wanted to be involved,” Robertson said.

“The only positive is the gaffer will get to look at other players such as Greg Taylor who hasn’t had as much game time as he would have wanted at Celtic, so I hope he gets game time and plays well.

“Greg was unbelievable against Belgium away and is more than capable of filling in that left-back role, and it gives the manager a chance to look at him.

“I wish all the lads all the best but more importantly Greg because he’s a really good young player who is up and coming.”

Taylor is also likely to start the final game of the qualification group next week as Kazakhstan visit Hampden, with Robertson’s ankle knock ruling him out of both matches.

“The possibility of staying for Kazakhstan was discussed with the club but it’s a no-go,” he said. “The club have given me a timescale as I’ve effectively picked up a fresh injury and the timescale doesn’t allow.

“I don’t think there’s a benefit of me being away for six days and then joining back up with the squad because it disrupts everything when I’ve not been around the lads.”

While Liverpool, Scotland and Robertson himself have agreed upon this international break as the ideal time to allow his troublesome ankle problem some respite, you have the feeling his leg would have to be hanging off to rule him out of the Euro 2020 play-off fixtures when they roll around in March.

That’s not to say that the games are without meaning though, with Robertson hoping his teammates can maintain the positivity around the camp that was born from the thumping win over San Marino last time out. From the smallest of acorns, and all that.


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“I know a lot has been said about these two games being meaningless, but we don’t believe that,” he said. “We feel a page was turned against San Marino and we can start being more positive.

“I wanted to be part of that and drive us forward in these two games, so we finish as high up the table as possible.

“For me, when I look back at my career so far, I’ve played games I probably shouldn’t have due to injuries and I’ve maybe been lucky not to make it worse. I am paid to play football and love playing football but if I keep playing this ankle is going to get worse and I’ll be no use to anyone sitting on a treatment table. And the fact my ankle has swollen up again has made it easier to miss these games.

“My ankle was already injured but Rodri tackled me late on in the middle of the park against Manchester City [on Sunday] and it opened my ankle up again. I was already a doubt but unfortunately that made it even worse and that sealed it. I probably knew that just as it happened.

“My plan was always to meet up [with Scotland] because the Liverpool physios have already assessed me, and the Scotland physios have been speaking to them a lot.

“The manager knew I was a doubt due to the concerns of my club, but I told him I would be up with the lads before the team flies out to Cyprus.

“It’s hard to be at your peak fitness in March, especially when you’ve been through a hectic festive period, but hopefully the manager has 40 players to pick from and nobody is struggling [for the play-offs].

“That’s the ideal scenario for him and he’ll be able to pick his squad and will be able to pick his team as the games in March are huge for us.


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“These are big games because we want to finish the group on a high but if we were sitting here saying the next two games are bigger than the ones in March then nobody would believe us - and we wouldn’t believe it ourselves.

“The games in March are so big for us and will decide whether we go to a major tournament or not, so we all have to be fully fit and fully firing and hopefully confident after these two results.

“I wish the lads all the best for the game but unfortunately I’ll be watching from home.”

Scotland have been known to drive many a Tartan Army member to distraction, but Robertson will be looking to avoid any distractions as he takes in the Cyprus game as a supporter.

“I’ll probably sit on my own and watch the game on Saturday,” he said.

“I don’t like watching games with anyone because people sometimes talk through it, so I’ll make sure I find a quiet room in my house and watch it.

“When I’m not involved, I’m a fan, and that’s the way we all are because it’s your mates going out there and playing and we know we need a couple of good results, so I’ll be watching with interest.

“I hope the lads have a good week’s training and on Saturday they go out and deliver because the two results would give us a big confidence boost.”