HAVING survived Glasgow’s footballing goldfish bowl, the prospect of ressurecting Sheffield United’s promotion challenge is unlikely to fill Barry Robson with dread.
So, despite seeing his debut for Danny Wilson’s side end in disappointment, it should come as no surprise to learn the Scotland midfielder views a top-two finish as a genuine possibility despite seeing Coventry City leave them eight points and four places off the pace.
“Listen, there’s a long way to go yet,” Robson, reflecting on Friday’s 2-1 defeat, said. “I’ve been in these situations before and you are always going to have upsets. Peaks and troughs if you like.
“What you have to do - the only thing you can do - is stay strong and believing in yourself. And definitely not panic.
“If we can win our next game then that puts us right back in the race. It’s always the teams who finish the season strongly, go on a run towards the end, who do the best.”
Born in the Royal Burgh of Inverurie, Robson progressed through the ranks with Rangers before arriving at Celtic in 2008 following spells with Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Forfar Athletic and Dundee United.
A mainstay in the Middlesbrough teams of Gordon Strachan and Tony Mowbray, the 34-year-old was approached by several Championship clubs after servering his ties with Vancouver Whitecaps last month but found the lure of United impossible to resist.
“I had a few options in the Championship but there was just something that pulled me towards here,” Robson continued. “Probably the size of the club.
“I’ve not got a bad CV and it would be great to get a promotion on it here. A lot of people were surprised I came to play in Divison One but Sheffield United is a big club and so I thought why not? Let’s give it six months to start with, see if I can get that promotion and play for a great club.”
Robson, a veteran of six Old Firm derbies, signed a short-term contract at Bramall Lane ahead of last week’s transfer deadline.
Wilson, speaking before the 34-year-old’s official unveiling on Thursday, admitted he had been tasked to create and score goals given United’s disappointing returns from deep lying positions this season.
Robson, who was on target against Barcelona when Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta visited Celtic Park for a Champions League fixture in 2008, duly obliged by taking the corner which enabled Dave Kitson to equalise against City before Leon Clarke’s second of the contest condemned United to another home defeat.
Sixth in the League One table, Wilson later acknowledged that tomorrow’s date with Crawley Town has now assumed even greater significance.
“I thought the boys played really well in the second-half (against Coventry),” Robson, who replaced compatriot Jamie Murphy in the 71st minute, said.
“We were slow out of the blocks and I thought a few of the decisions, including an offside goal and a stonewall penalty, didn’t go our way.
“We didn’t get the rub of the green but, after the break, the boys should be pleased with how we played.
“I can see there are good players here.”