Andy Robertson has already helped end one long wait this year. He wants to finish 2020 by ending another with Scotland.
Liverpool had gone 30 years without lifting the Premier League title prior to this summer, where in the delayed end to the season they finally got their hands on the trophy.
Scotland’s wait to reach an international tournament has not been quite as long – 22 years to be precise – but the weight of expectation is the same.
“It’s very similar,” said Robertson. “When I first moved to Liverpool, you realised how desperate the fans and everybody associated with the club was to put that long wait right and get a Premier League title, which we managed to do.
“Ever since I was involved with Scotland, and even when I was with Dundee United seven years ago, you can feel the Tartan Army is missing going to big tournaments. They are desperate for it.
“We’ve come close before. I was involved in the Slovenia game away when we probably had to win to get a play-off for the last Euros and we ended up drawing.
“You can feel how much they want it, even if they’re not in the ground. You can still feel how desperate they all are and hopefully we can do it for them.”
A good morning’s training.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) November 11, 2020
Scotland face Serbia tonight on the back of an eight-game unbeaten run. The pessimism that emanated from the early parts of the Steve Clarke era have faded into the distance. An unsettling, unusual confidence has taken its place.
A penalty-shootout victory over Israel got Scotland to this stage last month, which they followed up with wins over Slovakia and Czech Republic.
“We need to go out and show that and show the same determination and the same passion that we showed in the last camp,” added Robertson. “I thought in the three games we were brilliant and got the job done in all three and that’s what we need to do.
“It’s a final – do or die. You either go to the Euros or you’re left short once again.
“We need to leave everything out on pitch, which we’ll do and hopefully that’s enough to get us the result that we need.”
A consistent squad has played a strong part in Scotland stabilising under Clarke, with figures like Stephen O’Donnell, Ryan Jack and Declan Gallagher now feeling like seasoned pros in the camp.
There are no shortage of players with top-level experience in England too, which will no doubt stand them in good stead.
Robertson said: “A lot of the lads in our squad now have got big game experience, which is so important.
“Firstly they’re gaining more and more experience on the international front, which is also so important. People are racking up more and more caps. That obviously helps us for games like tonight.
“But they’ve also played in big games for their club, like Celtic, Rangers plus of course you think of John McGinn playing in big play-off finals for Aston Villa, against Arsenal and Liverpool and coming away with very good results. Scott McTominay too.
“A lot of the lads, when you look back, have played in big games – and Thursday’s match will be no different.”
The missing factor when Scotland take to the field tonight, at the home of Red Star Belgrade, will be the Tartan Army.
Regulations around the coronavirus pandemic mean it has been impossible for supporters to travel to the game, however Sky Sports have made the game free-to-air so fans can watch from home.
“Obviously we don’t have fans around and sometimes we’d have people visiting training at the start of the week, which has all been taken away but you can feel it,” said Robertson. “All the lads are on social media and there’s been a turn, which has been so nice to see.
“There had been a lot of negativity in the past, some of it rightly so because of results and performances we’d been putting in, but now under the manager and being eight unbeaten, there is a lot of positivity and I believe the whole country is right behind us for tomorrow night.
“I certainly feel it and all the lads feel it. There’s no better feeling that when everyone’s behind us and everyone is pulling in the same direction and everyone wants us to succeed. And we feel that.
“That’s why when we go out there, we’ll be representing all five million of us and we hope to make them all proud.”