ANDY Robertson is delighted to become Scotland’s latest Champions League success story – but insists the image of him lifting the trophy will never be as iconic in this country as that of the late Billy McNeill doing likewise back in 1967. The Scotland captain became the first native of this country for 22 years to triumph in the continent’s biggest game when the Anfield side defeated Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid last Saturday, but there was a thought or two for McNeill and Stevie Chalmers, the two Lisbon Lions who passed away towards the end of this season, prior to going up and holding the trophy aloft.

“It is very rare,” said Robertson. “That is what you start to realise. Maybe more so this year than last year. A lot has been said up in Scotland because of Billy McNeill’s passing, the fact the person from these islands who lifted it for the first time was Scottish. It has been an emotional time for people up here to see him go, and Stevie Chalmers as well.

“So that was in the back of my mind, if I got the chance to get my hands on that trophy,” he added. “The picture of Billy is so iconic, obviously it is outside Parkhead and it is everywhere.

“My picture won’t go as big as his, but it was still a special moment to get my hands on the trophy he lifted.”

There is a connection to the extended McNeill clan, of course, whose grandchildren attended St Ninian’s in Eastwood, where Robertson was also a pupil. “I came across him [McNeill] a couple of times,” said Robertson. “I went to school with his grandkids although I didn’t know them particularly well. But what he did was incredible. To get my hands on the same trophy he did was special.”

It is hardly a surprise if so many in this country want to wrap Robertson in the flag. After all, even his German manager Jurgen Klopp was larking around for a photo with our new footballing poster boy and a saltire within minutes of the final whistle. It is another image which has passed into the iconography of the event, another indication that Robertson’s triumph somehow belonged to the whole of Scotland. In fact, when you view footage of the game back, some mysterious supporter appeared to have draped a saltire over the hoardings directly behind both goals.

“Someone threw it [the flag] from the crowd and I just grabbed it,” said Robertson. “The gaffer saw me unveil it and just wanted to get a piece of it – luckily the photographer was there to capture the moment.

“I didn’t know who it was that threw it, I just took it,” he added. “The gaffer wanted a picture with it so obviously I wasn’t going to say no.”

Besieged by well-wishers in the aftermath of the event, Robertson admitted he has been so overwhelmed by the messages that he has been utterly unable to respond to as many as he wanted. Pressed on the subject of which major Scottish celebrities had been touch, he was guarded. Not one who ever seems overly impressed by the trappings of fame, it was entirely typical that the reactions Robertson cherished the most to him were those of his closest friends and family.

“Look, the support I have received has been incredible from people up here and it is obviously greatly appreciated,” the 25-year-old said. “I have been away quite a while now and to still have that support here is special.

“There were a lot of people [who got in touch],” he added. “Obviously people who are well known in Scotland and all that. I’ve still not got back to half of the people who have sent messages because it’s impossible to get back to everyone, especially preparing for these games.

“But the ones that meant the most to me were my close family because they are the ones who have been through it all.They are the ones who have seen the tough times. So what I did was for all of them. To see them on the pitch afterwards and at the party after it, was quite emotional.”

After the team stayed out in Madrid for an intimate family party, it was onto a mobbed open top bus parade. “It was a very emotional couple of days after the game and one of happiness, spending time with the people closest to me,” said Robertson. “Some of the staff who have been at Liverpool for a long time had said it was special back in Liverpool after they’d won it in Istanbul.

“But we stayed out in Madrid and had a good party out there with friends, family and people associated with the club but we knew the next day was going to be crazy and it didn’t let us down. There weren’t many blank spots - if any - on the streets and the fans who came out were incredible and that’s probably the moment it really hit home what we’d done for the city. I can talk about it when I retire but right now I’m focused on trying to create new memories now. “

All things considered, with Clarke unsurprisingly sticking with him as captain, Robertson wasn’t the worst man for the SFA to wheel out to swell tonight’s gate against Cyprus. But then Scotland’s latest European Cup winner is used to selling tickets for Hampden.