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ROBBO AIMS FOR PLAY-OFFS

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SKIPPER Andy Robertson will be missing from the Scotland team in the Euro 2020 double-header against Cyprus in Nicosia on Saturday afternoon and Kazakhstan at Hampden on Tuesday night, as Scotzine reported yesterday.

The encounters will not count to qualifying from the group with Belgium and Russia already cementing their places in next year’s Finals.

However, although the Liverpool left-back is sidelined with an ankle injury, he hopes to play his part for his nation when the play-offs come around in March.

Robbo, speaking to the Evening Times, said: “I know a lot has been said about these two games being meaningless, but we don’t believe that. We feel a page was turned against San Marino and we can start being more positive.

“I wanted to be part of that and drive us forward in these two games, so we finish as high up the table as possible.

“For me, when I look back at my career so far, I’ve played games I probably shouldn’t have due to injuries and I’ve maybe been lucky not to make it worse. I am paid to play football and love playing football, but if I keep playing this ankle is going to get worse and I’ll be no use to anyone sitting on a treatment table.

“And the fact my ankle has swollen up again has made it easier to miss these games.

“My ankle was already injured but Rodri tackled me late on in the middle of the park against Manchester City on Sunday and it opened my ankle up again. I was already a doubt, but, unfortunately, that made it even worse and that sealed it.”

The Anfield Champions League winner added: “It’s hard to be at your peak fitness in March, especially when you’ve been through a hectic festive period, but, hopefully, the manager has 40 players to pick from and nobody is struggling.

“That’s the ideal scenario for him and he’ll be able to pick his squad and will be able to pick his team as the games in March are huge for us.

“They will decide whether we go to a major tournament or not, so we all have to be fully fit and fully firing and, hopefully, confident after these two results.

“I wish the lads all the best for the game, but, unfortunately, I’ll be watching from home.”

The dual absence of Robertson and former Celtic defender Kieran Tierney, who was withheld by Arsenal as he continues to recover from his double hernia operation, will open the door for Greg Taylor to get some much-needed game-time.

The defender has made only one appearance for the Hoops since his £2.25million arrival from Kilmarnock on transfer deadline day.

Taylor got the nod to play in the 2-0 win over St Mirren a fortnight ago and his former Rugby Park gaffer Steve Clarke is bound t play him against Cyprus and Kazakhstan.

 

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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