Andy Robertson gets big Liverpool verdict but Scotland icon reminds him what to do to fit in for Nottingham Forest

28 May 2022 | 08:40 | Football

John McGovern respects Andy Robertson so much so that he believes he got his seal of approval from the great, late Brian Clough.

But the two-time European Cup champion warned his Scottish compatriot no more and nothing less Champions League Victory would be enough to compare with the Red Devils winning the double European Cup in the glory days of the late 70s.

The midfield brains of Clough’s Nottingham Forest, who lifted the European Cup against Malmo in 1979 and Hamburg the following year, is a big fan of Scotland the captain will line up against Real Madrid in Paris this Saturday to try to win the biggest prize in club football.

McGovern’s own European adventures are a tale of the melancholy of his greatest moments of success, and he asked Robertson to join him in a roster of players who have lift the trophy twice.

He said: “Once you win the trophy, you want to win it again and at Forest we were considered a lightning bolt in the pan.

“It still has to be proven if this Liverpool is to be compared to the team I faced when they needed to hold that Champions League trophy for two years in a row.

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“They have the ability to do that because they have a lot of quality inside and Robertson is a big part of that.

“He’s the Clough type of player, he would love him, he’s an attacking-minded player.

“You don’t get any more positivity at full-back than he does because his first thought is to always go forward and I’m sure he’d rather do that than defend.

“Liverpool also have a manager that the players trust just like we did under Clough. He would put in place a system that would allow the players to come forward and Clough put me in the defensive midfield position and told me if he caught me in attack with the striker he would penalize me.

“Jurgen Klopp has his players in a disciplined system and Robertson is allowed down the wing and into the box, he is a great attacking weapon.

“When you believe in what the manager is asking you to do then you can adopt your own style of play and Robertson has been passionate about working under Klopp.”

When asked to compare current quality at the elite level with what was produced in his day, he quipped: “Back then it was the old First Division, if you won it you would have won it. Go into the real Champions League where you have to be the champion of your country. That is no longer the case.

Forest of Nottingham

“I remember when we were in the Forest dressing room and sitting around the radio listening to the Champions League draw and some of the boys saying, ‘I want to go to Paris’, ‘I want to go to Germany’, ‘I want to go to Germany. go to the Netherlands’.

“We drew with Liverpool so we never even got past the country. They were European champions and one of the best teams in the world right now. No one gave us any chance.

“We won our first game at home and I remember Emlyn Hughes telling us 1-0 wasn’t enough to go to Anfield so we scored the second and I asked him if two would be enough?

“We got through that first round and went on to win on the first try.”

McGovern’s first taste of success in Europe is also when he recalls a traumatic event in his youth and the longing of a father who died under tragic circumstances.

He said: “My father passed away when I was 11 years old. He is working in Ghana on a project to build a dam, which is important in Africa. He couldn’t take the holidays until that was done so I never saw him for two years.

“On his last day of work, he got on the bus to catch a flight home; He was killed in an accident. He wanted so badly to get home, he stood next to the driver and a car sped in front of them and he went through the windshield.

McGovern is a star for Nottingham Forest

“Like most boys, I love my dad and that’s why I didn’t smile when I lifted the European Cup for the first time.

“An image of my father popped into my head at that moment and I just wish he was there to see it because it would make him proud. Call it a moment of sentimental sentimentality but it was him and for my mother.”

The Robertson factor is just one of the reasons McGovern will move to Liverpool at the Stade de France.

He said: “I used to adore Liverpool, they are a great team full of Scottish players and I am partisan, I want Liverpool to win, I want any English team to play in the game. European final won.

“I would also like to see a team based on successful attacking and entertaining play.

“They also have a Scot in their ranks that adds to the desire to see them and Robertson play well because he’s a world-class player in a world-class performing team, so so I’ll wear my Liverpool hat.”

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