Scott Robertson may be one of the most experienced players in League One, but the Raith Rovers midfielder felt like a rookie again as he took his place as a makeshift centre-half at Hampden on Saturday.
The 32-year-old former Scotland cap has been filling in for injured skipper Kyle Benedictus in the heart of the Raith defence, and although he played his part in keeping a clean sheet in a 5-0 win over Queen’s Park, Robertson admitted that it wasn’t an entirely comfortable afternoon.
“It’s a little bit unnatural, and it’s evident that it’s affecting the team,” he said.
“We’ve got two good results in the last two weeks with me filling in there, so it’s obviously not too negative, but we didn’t play our normal game with the ball.
“I think part of that was down to Queen’s Park and the way they played, and stopped us from playing out.
“The manager prefers it to be like this, and for me to use my experience in that area, where I can help out the defence and the boys in front as well.
“I’d prefer to play my natural position, but if I’m playing in defence and it’s helping the team win games, then I’m not fussed in the slightest.”
Robertson has had to curtail his natural midfield instincts in order to adjust to life as a centre-half.
“The game’s totally different in that area,” he said. “You can’t make mistakes and go chasing the ball.
“It’s more a case of trying to be in the right position than being aggressive.
“The fact I’ve got Davo and Jason, who’ve played probably 1000 games between them in those positions, and Euan Murray, who is actually a centre-back on the left hand side, has definitely helped me in that sense.
“We knew at start of the season that the squad we were running with was tight, and you hoped we wouldn’t pick up the injuries that we have.
“It’s just part of the game, and we’re still managing to pick up positive results, so it hasn’t impacted on that side of it yet.
“We just need to keep going and know that, whoever we come up against, we’ve got players in the team that can punish other teams.”
Raith moved six points clear at the top of League One on Saturday but Robertson stressed that nobody at Stark’s Park is getting carried away.
“The manager is absolutely brilliant when it comes to that,” he said.
“He prepares us well for every game. Whoever we play against he always looks at their strengths and prepares us well for what we’ll be facing in open play and at set pieces.
“There’s no disrespect to any team we’re playing against. You’re always expecting a really tough game and it’s credit to the manager and backroom staff for preparing us in the sense. It’s the main thing that’s keeping us focused and that won’t waver at all.
“The manager will keep our heads screwed on and prepared for every single opponent.”