GLASGOW: New Scotland manager Steve Clarke hopes Andy Robertson’s Champions League success with Liverpool rubs off on his country when they face Cyprus on Saturday.
Robertson was greeted with an admiring round of applause from the Scotland squad when he arrived late at their training base this week following Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid last Saturday.
Ahead of the 2020 European Championship qualifier against the Cypriots at Hampden Park, Clarke believes the confidence of Robertson – his captain – can boost the rest of the squad after a disappointing run for the national team.
“The players received him with a warm round of applause when he walked into the dining room, when we were all sitting having our dinner,” Clarke said on Friday ahead of his first match as national boss.
“It was great to have him there. Obviously, a massive achievement for Andy and hopefully the lads can feed off that.
“There has been a few in the group who had successful seasons, the Celtic lads, Kenny McLean (Norwich), John McGinn (Aston Villa) have all finished the season feeling good about themselves.
“So we have a lot in the group who have had a positive end to the season and hopefully when we get the team on the pitch on Saturday night we can continue that positivity.”
Clarke is preparing for the first game of a Euro 2020 qualifying double-header which includes a trip to group favourites Belgium in Brussels on Tuesday.
The Scots began their campaign with a shock 3-0 defeat in Kazakhstan and a meagre 2-0 win away to minnows San Marino, which led to the departure of Alex McLeish and the appointment of former Kilmarnock boss Clarke.
Clarke, who has also managed West Bromwich Albion and Reading, hopes he is not overcome with emotion in his first match.
“I said before about it being the pinnacle of my career and standing out there tomorrow night in front of the supporters as manager of the national team will be an emotional occasion for me,” he said.
“Hopefully I don’t burst into tears. I am proud to be the manager of the national team but now the work starts.
“The honeymoon period will be over tomorrow night after the game because that’s the way it is in football. You start to get judged on results and performances but I am ready for that.”