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ASPIRING footballers can find it hard living in the shadow of their father.

But Dundee starlet Scott Robertson is thriving under the watchful eye of his MOTHER.

Dianne Robertson was a Scotland women's international during the 1970s.

Now she is helping her son as he strives to make the breakthrough at Dens Park.

The 18-year-old midfielder has had Dianne by his side ever since he kicked his first football in the garden as a kid.

And he reckons her presence can give him the edge needed to force his way into Jim Duffy's plans.

Scott admitted: ``It's unusual for a mum to be so involved. Usually it's the dad who has played football.

``My dad only played for fun but my mother was capped 17 times for Scotland.

``She was the one who really encouraged me to pursue a career in football from an early age.

``Most of the lads in the dressing room know this and there's a bit of banter about it sometimes. But my mum has been a greatinfluencewith all her experience. Dad records all our games while mum stands at the touchline giving me support.

``She is like my own manager the way she speaks to me before and after matches.''

Dianne grew up honing her skills in the streets of Dundee alongside Ray Farningham, the Dundee assistant boss, and Jim Spence, the BBC journalist.

She admits she was considered a tomboy but it didn't take away from

her love of the game.

Dianne said: ``I used to play with Ray who's known as Jinky and Jim Spence. I was the best player by some way.

``All I ever wanted to do was play football even though it was considered strange at the time.

``I've been kicking a ball with Scott since he was a wee lad and I like to pass on advice.

``I'm his biggest critic and we've had a few disagreements. But I'm only doing it for his own good.

``I used to tell him to get more aggression into his game. Now I've got to get him to calm down at times.''

It was only in 1997 that Dianne received a cap for her Scotland appearances on the 25th anniversary of the first women's international between Scotland and England.

Until then the Women's FA were too broke to stump up for caps.

Now Dianne uses her belated honours as an incentive for her son.

Scott said: ``Mum shows me the cap in the house to remind me what can be achieved.

``I know I've got a lot of hard work ahead to get to that sort of level.

``But I'm at a great club who have shown they're willing to give youngsters a chance.

``The under-19s manager Stevie Campbell has been brilliant. He has looked after me since I joined. Stevie knows my mum as well and both know what I've got to do to keep improving my game. It'severy youngster's aim to get into the first team and hopefully I can do that sooner rather than later.

``Training with guys like Fabian Caballero and Fabrizio Ravanelli can only help my game.''

Dianne was a prolific striker in her day and her exploits for the national side attracted interest from Italy.

She turned down the chance of a move to the continent because she couldn't bear to leave her family behind in Scotland.

Dianne said: ``I had played really well in the San Siro Stadium and got an offer to go over there and become semi-professional.

``I rejected it in the end for fear of becoming homesick although I still wonder what it might have led to.

``Nowadays I would have gone to America where women's football has really taken off.

``We didn't have the same opportunities in my day when people just sneered at the idea of women playing football.

``But it's a joy to watch Scott develop as a player and I'm sure his chance will come along.

``He's the type of lad who is fully focused and won't let anything distract him from his football. I just wish I'd had the same chance when I was playing.

``That's why I tease him about my caps to spur him on to achieve as much as he can.''

Scott's agent Charlie Duddy is convinced the youngster will make it into the big time.

And he reckons Dianne would have had scouts flocking to snap her up.

Duddy said: ``It's not common for a young player to inherit his skills from his mother.

``But Scott obviously takes his off his mum and that can only be a good thing when you look at her own career.

``If he goes on to be as successful as her then he'll have done very well indeed.''


MUM'S THE WORD: While his dad watches from the sidelines Dens Park youngster Scott Roberm the sidelines Dens Park youngster Scott Robertson gets career tips from his former Scotland women's international mother Dianne who played for her country 17 times
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 26, 2003
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