Posted on Thursday, 26th April 2012 by lordofthewing
In this months FourFourTwo magazine Barry Robson was named by rival fans as the 29th best player in the Football League. Got me thinking that the biggest folly of Mowbray’s ‘Destrachanification’ of the squad was getting rid of the highlander.
Barry Robson was signed on the last day of the transfer window in January 2008 after an incredible 18 months for Dundee United. He was another attempt by our then manager to try and sort the midfield problem. An area that already been lavishly funded but with mixed success.
Robson took the long road to find a club worthy of his ability. He was at R*ngers as a youngster but when John Brown tried to discipline him he rebelled. A trip back up to the highlands saw him help Inverness won promotion from the 2nd division where he was sent back to on loan to Forfar. He instilled himself at a now established SPL Inverness after that loan spell. A move to Dundee United followed.
It’s not a pampered road. It wasn’t the road that Jarosik, Gravesan, Donati or even Scott Brown. It’s what made him grab the chance with us. A 29 year old making a move to a big club after years of hard work paying off. It’s a cocktail that ensured that of the recent number of players that have player for us and them he is the only one that is universally loved.
Robson looked like a daft big highlander. He looked like if you tipped his head far enough side wards then sawdust would fall from his ears. He had shoulders of a brickies mate but was deceptively mobile.
Off course he had the failings that afflict most Scottish players. One footed and a poor touch at times but to say just he had a dig and workrate is an insult. Most players who are termed as work horses are mostly just a pair of lungs with hair and teeth. Robson had an eye for goal, a great sense of timing and composure when it mattered.
A quirk of fate confirmed Robson’s place in folklore. A tempestuous Scott Brown who was struggling with a £4m price tag and our managers tinkering with his natural game ended up suspended for the start of the make or break run in. This forced Gordon Strachan to pair Robson with Paul Hartley (another rags to riches via many bus stops story) in the center of midfield.
Robson’s ‘Celtic’ moment came against R*ngers (as is usual with cult figures). Walter Smith’s side turned up a CP knowing a draw would do to basically end our championship hopes. His side were well versed in what was known as the Wattienaccio. A system that suffocated the life out of teams. They could play for a draw with ease.
In the opening exchanges Barry Robson clattered Christen Dailly who was a center half playing in the center midfield for R*ngers such was their intent.
The challenge is remembered more than our last minute winner in that game and our never say die attitude which is something that today’s team is accused of lacking. A week later he scored a penalty against R*ngers in a 3-2 victory.
He also scored with the first kick of his Celtic career with a perfect free kick against Aberdeen and despite looking lost for most of the game against Barcelona managed to score a header, which saw us lead 2-1 at half before succumbing 3-2.
His first few months were dream like and looking back maybe the only way was down. An injury hit first full season saw us lose the league and lose a manager. Tony Mowbray thought that Crosas and N’Guemo were better options than Robson who was soon on his way to Middlesbrough.
In a quirk of fate Mowbray soon followed and despite not rating him in Glasgow Robson is the current Boro captain.
For a player who only made 55 appearances for us scoring 7 goals and saw his form tail off I get the over-riding feeling that a beautiful long term relationship never got by the first date.
But we will always have debut goals, scoring against Barca, nailing Dailly and winning the league.
Barry has signed for Vancouver Whitecaps for next season. I wish him well.