ANDY Robertson last night insisted he had no chance of playing for Scotland in the Euro 2020 qualifier against Kazakhstan this week due to a painful mouth abscess and revealed he will play against San Marino this afternoon despite still being in considerable discomfort.

Robertson was one of a raft of players who pulled out of the national squad ahead of a Group I opener in Nursultan on Thursday that ended in an embarrassing 3-0 defeat which seriously jeopardises their chances of reaching the finals next year.

The large number of withdrawals – no fewer than six of the original 27-man squad called off - led to renewed claims that players aren’t fully committed to their country’s cause and are increasingly choosing to make club commitments their priority.

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But the Liverpool left back, who travelled independently to Bologna in Italy on Friday on a Ryan Air charter that was packed with members of the Tartan Army, stressed that he had been desperate to be involved in the Astana Arena.

The Scotland captain, who had to undergo dental surgery, revealed he is set to take his place in Alex McLeish’s starting line-up here in Serravalle today despite not being 100 per cent recovered.

“The mouth’s as good as it’s going to be,” he said. “It was sore on the flight over, which made me realise how bad it might have been had I’d done eight hours to Kazakhstan. I think I’d probably have tried to jump off the plane!

“I had an abscess down on the right side, so the tooth had to come out, the gum was cut open and I got four or five stitches in it. Some people made it out to be a filling - it was definitely more than that!

“Thing is, it had to come out within 24 hours of them finding it, because if it had burst and gone into the bloodstream it could have been nasty. I really wanted to be there, but it just wasn’t possible.

“I’m not worried now, but I would have been on Thursday. A bang on the face then might have burst the stitches. I’ve still got the stitches in, but they’ve settled down. It was the one just before the wisdom tooth, which was the one blessing, because that’s one of my real dreads.

“Everyone knows what toothache’s like, it’s one of those dull pains that just won’t go away. Right now I’m as 100 per cent as I can be.

“In a way, the pain I was in on there flight over to Italy was a good thing, because it told me how bad it would have been had I not had the op. The stitches would have been in danger with the pressure.

“I’d been feeling it in our game away got Fulham the weekend before and hadn’t got much sleep on the Friday or the Saturday and got through it with painkillers and two cans of Red Bull, but luckily we’d travelled down by train rather than in the air. But I then had to get a flight up to join the squad and it really got sore.”

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Robertson added: “People are going to have a pop about myself, Callum Paterson, Ryan Fraser and others who pulled out altogether, but we’re trying our best to play for our country.

“For Rysie and Cal, it’s impossible to play on AstroTurf, they haven’t done it since they were 15 or 16 and Cal’s had such a bad knee injury in the past 18 months. It’s medically impossible for him to turn on that surface. So even if he’d gone there, he’d probably have been a man down.

“People question whether we want to play for our country, but the three of us have then gone Edinburgh to Bologna then two hours down to the team hotel to play 24 hours later, so there’s no doubt we’re committed to it.

“We’re desperate to play. I was devastated not to play on Thursday and Liverpool will back that up, because they had to step in and stop me going.

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“Sometimes, the fact is that you need to think of your health – because what use is it for Ryan Fraser to try and be a hero for one game then end up out for six months? It kills him, it kills Bournemouth, it kills Scotland.

“The team that went out should have been good enough to beat Kazakhstan in my opinion, but we weren’t at the races, simple as that. The fallout from it all’s something we can’t control.”

Robertson admitted it had been difficult to watch the defeat to Kazakhstan – but insisted that Scotland’s chances of finishing in the top two in Group I and reaching the Euro 2020 finals were far from finished.

“I saw the game at my mum and dad’s house with my old man and one of my mates and it was a hard, course it was,” he said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way the other night. We lose a second goal soon after the first and it all just runs away.

“It was a double whammy, sitting there with a sore face and watching that defeat. It wasn’t fun. I’m a terrible watcher at the best of times, I hate it, so at the end of the game I was straight on the phone saying how much I’d wanted to there with them.

Robertson continued: “To be honest, the mood was low when I got here. Walking into breakfast, there were a few lads who were scared to smile.

“But it’s not the end of the world, no matter how bad it feels right now. The media will write about it and fans will have their say and that’s fair, because it wasn’t nearly good enough. But it’s up to us to pick ourselves up for this game, for the run-in to our club seasons and then to two crucial internationals in the summer.

“If there’s a positive, it’s that the bad result has come at the start of the campaign, because if it happens at the nitty-gritty there’s nothing you can do to put it right.”