The skipper has urged Scotland to keep the feel-good factor alive in the country by maintaining their perfect start in Group A. The left-back seems happy to accept what that will almost certainly yield – a place at Euro 2024. Robertson has played in Champions League finals for Liverpool. He knows what a game of magnitude looks like. While an 8,000-capacity stadium on the outskirts of a small city on the edge of Europe might not feel like it should be the setting for a high stakes encounter, there was no mistaking Scotland’s focus as the players stepped down from the bus on Thursday night before training.
“It’s massive for us,” said Robertson. “It’s probably our biggest game since the disappointment of the Ukraine (World Cup qualifying) game. Obviously we’ve put ourselves in a great position and we know what a win can do. That’s the pressure that’s on us and we need to deal with it. We’ll have to be at our best. That expectation is what this group of boys and staff have to deal with. We’ve got expectations on us going into every game because of the standards we’ve set. It’s up to us to maintain it and keep it that high. We’re close to another major tournament – but we are not there yet. And any slip-ups now could be costly. It’s important we go against that and put ourselves in the perfect position with five out of five.”
Robertson has already played four demanding fixtures for Liverpool since the start of the season. He is relieved to be out of the Premier League bubble for a spell – although next week's friendly against England means he won’t escape it completely. But it’s clear he has left such worries as whether team-mate Mo Salah is indeed on his way to Saudi Arabia behind. “Of course, it’s nice to be here,” he said. “The start of the season is always a bit mad, there are players potentially coming or leaving, you are trying to get into the rhythm of the season.
“All the lads love coming away with Scotland. There’s a real feel-good factor. We know the country is behind us and everyone wants to turn up and play. Everyone walks in with a smile on their face. That’s not always been the case in the past, but it’s because there’s a feel-good factor, the results have been good and we’ve set standards for ourselves.”
Talking of factor, has he brought any sunscreen Robertson has played all over the world, so should cope with the temperature in Cyprus. “Norway (in June) was probably the hottest I’ve ever played in, while it’s a bit more humid here,” he said. “It makes it a bit more difficult to catch your breath but we’ll train and try to get used to it the best we can. The whole squad will come in to play, like in Norway where the subs made a massive difference. I’m sure we’ll need 16 players here but everyone will give their all. We’re more experienced to deal with the conditions – and it’s better than the weather against Georgia. There’s not much chance of a waterlogged pitch here ...”