Courtesy of “The Daily Mail”
For Andrew Robertson, there is one target left to attain in his remarkable breakthrough season.
After a Scotland cap and the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year award, a Scottish Cup winner’s medal with Dundee United would crown his incredible rise from part-time football with Queen’s Park just 12 months ago.
Robertson is adamant, however, that completing a fairytale campaign would not mark the end of his ambitions at Tannadice.
Up for the cup: Dundee United ace Andrew Robertson wants to finish the season in style
The 20-year-old is already attracting interest from numerous English clubs – most prominently Everton – but still sees plentiful scope for improvement alongside his Tannadice contemporaries.
Stuart Armstrong and Ryan Gauld also made the Young Player of the Year shortlist, while centre-back John Souttar and striker Nadir Ciftci – a relative veteran at 22 – have been further key components of Jackie McNamara’s side.
All will attract transfer speculation this summer but Robertson agrees with the assertion Mark McGhee made in Sportsmail earlier this week.
Attracting interest: Everton are leading the chase for United youngster Robertson
The Scotland assistant manager believes the long-term development of United’s youngsters could well be aided by sticking around for at least another year.
‘That would be the ideal situation,’ insisted Robertson. ‘I’d like all the young boys staying together with all the experienced boys still helping us at United.
‘If we had another season all together, we would really push up that league. We were a bit sluggish at the start of this season as a result of trying to get things together but you can see now that we are in the flow.
‘We have had a few dips, but that is always going to happen. If we stay together, I am sure we will improve on our position.
‘However, money can have a say. Maybe the club couldn’t turn down a certain offer for a certain player but the ideal situation would be that we all stick together.’
There is precious little sign of Robertson’s recently acquired fame going to his head. The Everton link in January merely made him the target of good-natured jibes from his team-mates.
‘I took it in my stride,’ he reflected. ‘Teams were named, but there was nothing concrete and I just got on with my football.
Prize guy: Andrew Robertson shows off his PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year award
‘I think it helped that there were three or four United boys being linked with moves and it wasn’t just concentrated on me. I think we all dealt with it well and had a joke about it, which was the best way to deal with it.
‘There have been more jokes over the last couple of weeks thanks to me, Stuart and Ryan being nominated for the Young Player of the Year award.
‘I am sure that kind of thing will continue. There is no doubt the United boys are going to be linked with moving away again in the summer, but I hope we can stay together because we have a young squad and I hope we can improve on our position and push up the league.’
United are currently fourth, four points adrift of Motherwell after hammering the Fir Park club 5-1 last weekend.
That exhilarating performance suggested McNamara’s side are clicking into form at the right time ahead of the May 17 final against St Johnstone.
On the rise: Robertson has made rapid progress since his switch to full-time football
‘Winning the Cup would be the cherry on top of this year,’ admitted Robertson. ‘That is what we are looking for. We have a 50-50 chance and everyone at the club is looking forward to it.
‘We know ourselves that we have not played our best in the last month, before the Motherwell game.
‘We did not play well in the semi-final against Rangers, even though we’d have taken the performance had we known we were going to win 3-1 beforehand.
‘But last Saturday was a great performance from the boys and we are now looking for a continuation of that because there is not much point in just turning up once a month.
‘Some people can blame youth for mixed results but I am not one to say that. If an experienced player such as John Rankin can be consistent every week, why can’t the young boys? You have got to start somewhere. There is no excuse.’
Staying grounded: Robertson is not getting carried away, despite being catapulted into the spotlight
For Robertson, the countdown to the showpiece against Saints will be another new experience to savour.
‘Last year, I was with Queen’s Park and we were pushing for the play-off positions,’ he said.
‘I never imagined I would be collecting the Young Player of the Year award 12 months later.
‘I wouldn’t want it any other way, though.
‘The United boys have been excellent with me. It helped at the start of the season that I was walking into a young changing-room with a few experienced heads such as John Rankin, Paul Paton and Sean Dillon, who help the younger boys so much.
‘They deserve a lot of credit, which they maybe don’t get all the time. We all get on and I think that is why we are performing so well this season.’