THE motto of Andy Robertson’s former school is Floreat Iuventus – let youth flourish.

And as East Renfrewshire celebrates the latest achievement of one of its most famous sons, the Latin inscription could not be more apt.

The modest 26-year-old captained Scotland to victory against Serbia last week to seal their place at the Euro 2020 finals.

It is the first time the men’s team has qualified for a major international tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France.

And watching proudly on TV with the rest of the nation was Andy’s former PE teacher and football coach Joe Fuchs, who has known the Liverpool star since he first arrived at St Ninian’s High, in Giffnock, 12 years ago.

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Joe, who is now depute head at neighbouring Woodfarm High, told the Barrhead News: “Captaining Scotland to our first major football finals in 22 years is a major personal achievement for Andy but it also reflects well on the school, his teachers, friends and family.

“In the last two years, Andy has just gone from strength to strength, with success after success at his club Liverpool.

“He has shown that he can more than hold his own with the best players in the world.

“It’s amazing what he has achieved and we are all so proud of him.”

The world-class defender, from Clarkston, has become one of Scotland’s biggest sporting stars.

However, Joe is quick to point out that his former pupil showed during his six years at St Ninian’s that his brains weren’t just in his feet.

Andy successfully sat four Highers – in English, history, business management and PE – and also applied for university.

Joe added: “Despite his talent, nobody could have imagined then that Andy would go on to have such incredible personal success.

“What he really did have that set him apart from everyone else was his competitive spirit and passion for playing football.

“Andy was up for any sport and would want to win but always in the right way.

“He also had a good team ethic and camaraderie with others.

“Andy was a bit of a joker but in a positive way that motivated people and kept their spirits up.”

Multi-talented Andy also represented the school at athletics and golf.

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Joe added: “The fact that he got four Highers while also trying to pursue a football career is testament to St Ninian’s, who promote the all-round individual.

“He probably doesn’t need his Highers now but you can tell when he is being interviewed that he has great interpersonal skills and is a good communicator. He was given a lot of opportunities at St Ninian’s and took them in the best way."

Andy also played left-back for the school and was captain when they won a league and cup double in 2011.

“I remember him as a very keen young man and that enthusiasm never left him,” said Joe. “His personality as so infectious.

“Andy will be the focal point now for the Scotland side. He is, in effect, a modern leader of the country.

“No-one deserves it more. I don’t think that the national football team could be in better hands.”

Two of Andy’s schoolmates have also made it as professional footballers.

Liam Lindsay is now at Stoke City, having played for Partick Thistle and Barnsley, while Calum Gallagher played for Rangers and is now at Airdrie.

Joe added: “Andy has always kept in touch with St Ninian’s and has given a couple of signed strips in the past. He is always glad to support his former school. That’s the type of person he is.”

Away from football, Andy has been a big supporter of those less fortunate than himself.

He refused presents for his 21st birthday and instead asked for donations to the East Renfrewshire Foodbank, based in Barrhead.

St Ninian’s High headteacher John Docherty also paid tribute to Andy after last week’s thrilling penalty shootout win against Serbia.

He said: “For Andy Robertson to have captained the nation to its first major finals for more than two decades is phenomenal.

“Andy is a credit to his family and everyone at the school is so proud of all he has achieved."

East Renfrewshire Provost Jim Fletcher added: “Andy is a fantastic advert for East Renfrewshire and his footballing achievements in recent years have been nothing short of incredible.

“He has risen through the ranks since leaving St Ninian’s and will now have the honour of captaining the country at its first major finals for 22 years.”

Barrhead woman Christine Paterson, 54, and her family were among the local residents who cheered Andy and his Scotland team-mates to victory on Thursday night.

Christine, who works as a hospital administrator, posted a picture of her son-in-law Jamie Finnegan and grandsons Rory, four, and Lochy, three, with their faces painted in Scotland colours.

Jamie, 30, is a shipyard plater, is married to her daughter Christina, 35, and the family live in neighbouring Neilston.

Christine said: “They were full of excitement at the result, just like the whole of Scotland.

“Jamie was only eight when Scotland last qualified [for a major tournament], so he’s absolutely delighted.

HeraldScotland: Robertson now plays for English giants Liverpool Robertson now plays for English giants Liverpool

“I think the result has lifted everyone in the country, particularly with the lockdown, and Andy Roberson is so down to earth.”

“We’re all hoping we can travel to some of the games next year and give Andy and the team our support.

“It was a historic night for the whole country and one that will be remembered for many years to come."