SARAH ROBERTSON knows what it takes to go to a major championship and come home with silverware. 

Having been part of the GB hockey side that won bronze in Tokyo last summer, Robertson joined an extremely select group of Scottish hockey players who have an Olympic medal in their trophy cabinet. 

And now she believes it’s time for her and her Scottish compatriots to do the same and get their hands on some major championship silverware. 

Robertson captains the women’s hockey side that goes into Birmingham 2022 with serious aspirations of winning Scotland’s first ever Commonwealth Games medal in the sport. 

She knows, both from her two previous Commonwealth Games appearances for Scotland, and her Olympic appearance last summer, just how hard it is to grab a step on the podium at a major event. 

As part of the Scottish side which narrowly missed out on the semi-finals at Glasgow 2014, then finished seventh in 2018, she is well-versed in the exertions of a Commonwealth Games. 

But this time, Robertson, who will captain Scotland, believes her side has what it takes to record their best-ever result, and make history in the process. 

“It’s going to be tough, of course it is, but if we can get it all to click and everything comes together, anyone can beat anyone on the day and I’m really optimistic about how this squad can do,” the 28-year-old from Melrose says. 

“I believe this squad has a lot of potential – we’ve got some very good talent and I really believe we’re capable of causing an upset.” 

Scotland’s path to the latter stages of this tournament is not easy. 

They open their campaign today against South Africa who, at 17th in the world rankings, are one place above the Scots. Their group also includes world top 8 sides, Australia and New Zealand, with Kenya completing Pool B and while the Scots are seeded to finish fourth in their section, their recent form, which includes an impressive series win against top-20 side Italy earlier this month, suggests the team is peaking at just the right time. 

Robertson is one of the more experienced players in this squad but she is in good company, with her GB squadmates, Amy Costello, Charlotte Watson, Jenny Eadie and Fiona Burnet also in Birmingham, as well as a number of players who have considerable Commonwealth Games experience under their belt. 

And so, while the potential to cause a few ripples in the coming ten days is evident, Robertson is under no illusions that the big-name players must take each game by the scruff of the neck and ensure they lead by example. 

“Hopefully our big players can step up,” the midfielder says.  

“Everybody needs to do their job but we’ve got a few key players who we really want on the ball and firing. If we can get our big players to bring their A-game, they can match the best in the world. 

“You just want everyone to rise to the occasion. 

In the past, we’ve maybe been a little bit rabbit in the headlights and if you do that, especially against the big teams, you’ve got no chance. 

So we need to make sure we bring our best game and if that ends up not being enough, there’s nothing more we can do.” 

Robertson was made captain of the side only a few months ago but it is a role she has moved into seamlessly. 

Her Olympic experience is, obviously, helpful but more so, it is her keenness to do all she can to drive this side forward and ensure it fulfils its potential, starting this week in Birmingham. 

“It definitely is different being captain and it’s a really good challenge but I believe it’s come quite naturally to me,” she says.  

“I feel like people are now realising that we’re actually a very capable squad and over the next couple of years, it’s our time to really do something. 

“Having been there and done it in another environment, I hope to bring a bit more of an awareness of what’s required when it’s crunch-time.  

“There’s no shying away from what it takes to make it to the top and I feel like all of the players have responded really well to that and have bought into the reality that everyone needs to step it up and it’s paying off. 

“At this level, it comes down to tiny margins and that’s why we’ve played a lot of matches in the build-up to these Games. 

“I’ve tried to be really clear that there’s always things to improve on because any mistakes we make, they’ll be punished by teams like Australia and New Zealand and the medals will come down to those few percent.”