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Robertson is ready to strike.
But Roxburgh banks on a more cautious approach against skilful Romanians
12 Sep 1990
JOHN Robertson, who criticised the decision of his club, Hearts, to relieve Alex MacDonald of his job as manager, has been given an incentive to forget the peculiar happenings at Tynecastle.
The 25-year-old has waited a long time to pull on Scotland's colours and he intends to make the most of his chance, even though the opposition, Romania, are multi-talented.
"It's always been a dream of mine to play for my country and I can't wait to get started and give them the message," he said yesterday after a training session at the squad's seaside hotel.
Brian Irvine, the young Aberdeen central defender, also will be making his debut, although his introduction to the rigours of the international game might not be so unnerving.
The new fellow should not feel too strange out there on Hampden despite the Romanians, who believe they can put one of their rivals out of contention by securing a win this evening, but Robertson might find his night the more frustrating.
They might have only a few genuine opportunities, which means, of course, they will have to be as sharp as broken glass.
Nevertheless, Robertson does have an eye for goal, as his 22 last season prove.
However, the Hearts striker's moment has arrived -- and at a time when most thought the international manager, Andy Roxburgh, would persevere with the McCoist/Robert Fleck partnership.
John Collins and Pat Nevin, others who must have felt they would be in the team, also have been left out and the manager explained their omissions thus: "Collins is still settling in at his new club and with Nevin it depends on the system we want to play, because he is a special kind of player."
It is obvious Roxburgh's strategy is based on caution, which is not difficult to understand considering Scotland are playing the favourites in their group and must avoid defeat.
Also, given the serious drain on Roxburgh's reservoir of talent, which was no more than a puddle in the first place, caused by the weekend's withdrawals, any attempt to play open football against the Romanians would be like inviting a man with a mask and a crowbar into your home.
This is not to say that the Scots are without cultured souls, but Paul McStay and Robert Connor, who, at 30, is being given another opportunity to make a play for international recognition, are not enough to combat the wizardry of tonight's opponents.
Robertson, although he has enough on his mind, is bound to be invited into the chairman's quarters at Tynecastle on his return from international duty.
As Mercer tried to calm emotions he also had to accept the resignation of reserve team coach John Binnie.
Goram (Hibernian), McKimmie, Irvine, McLeish (all Aberdeen), Malpas (Dundee United), McAllister (Leeds), MacLeod (Borussia Dortmund), McStay (Celtic), captain, Connor (Aberdeen), Robertson (Hearts), McCoist (Rangers).
Substitutes to be named today.
Taken from the Herald