Hampden days out were almost expected when Jamie Robson first broke into the top-team dressing-room at Dundee United.
In 2015, it was a 2-0 League Cup Final loss to Celtic for Jackie McNamara’s team.
While Mixu Paatelainen oversaw a Scottish Cup semi-final defeat at the hands of Hibs in 2016 and United’s relegation from the Premiership later the same season.
Championship football would bring more first-team opportunities for Robson, who has made the left-back slot his own in recent campaigns, racking up over 150 appearances in the process.
Having come through the youth ranks back in 2014, the 23-year-old is one of few people left at Tannadice who remembers the club contesting for silverware in the latter stages as they prepare for a Scottish Cup clash at Aberdeen on Sunday.
Although he was never involved in their Hampden squads, they were great times for Robson.
With the club back in the Premiership, he hopes the Terrors can emerge from five years in the wilderness for another shot at their day in the sun.
Micky Mellon’s men are just 90 minutes away from the national stadium following last Friday’s 1-0 last-16 win at Forfar and Robson says there is a “buzz” around the club again.
‘Everyone will have their eye on that as well because we’ve got a good chance of getting to Hampden’
“It’s a good buzz and a good feel around the club,” he said ahead of United’s league trip to Kilmarnock this evening.
“Everybody is happy, you can’t not be happy about something like that.
“It’s a massive achievement and we’re all hoping that we can get to the semi-final again.
“We’ve been on a good run.
“It was a tough game against Forfar, all credit to them. They did what they set out to do and did it well.
“It was good for us to get through to the next round and we’re unbeaten in six games now so, hopefully, we can keep that going tonight and build a bit more momentum going into the Aberdeen game.
“Everyone will have their eye on that as well because we’ve got a good chance of getting to Hampden.
“It’s a good opportunity for the club as a whole and the boys as well.
“They’ll be buzzing to potentially get to Hampden. Everybody has got something to play for in the upcoming games.”
The future is bright, the future is tangerine?
Despite going through some tough times in their four seasons battling to get out of the second tier, Perth lad Robson reckons they’re starting to come out the other side of it now.
Heading for Killie tonight, the Tangerines are sitting pretty in seventh spot, clear of relegation in their first season back in the Premiership since 2016.
Contesting top-flight football on a consistent basis for the first time in his career has been eye-opening for the defender but an experience he’s loving every minute of.
“The future looks good,” Robson added.
“We’ve had a few tough years but the club is now just moving forward.
“I think the fans can see that, that we’re moving forward. We just missed out on top six and I feel we were unlucky with that.
“We’ve got to the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup and I hope we can go further. Overall, there is a good feeling around the club.
“We’ve come on a lot from where we were a few years ago. That was a tough time.
“We were unlucky not to get promoted sooner through the play-offs, nothing really went in our favour that way.
“I think the we way done it and got here was good, we’re showing that we are a Premiership club and that we’re staying here. It’s all positive.”
He continued: “Getting promoted when we did was, for me, a good thing, because when we were in the Championship, I got to play more games.
“If we’d got into the Premiership, then maybe we would have got another left-back and I wouldn’t have got as much of a chance. On that basis, it was good for me.
“I’ve loved every minute of playing in the Premiership.
“You always want to play in the highest league possible. Playing in the Premiership this season has been brilliant. All the stadiums, the teams, they’re all massive clubs.
“It’s much tougher than the Championship. If you make a mistake, you’re going to get punished.
“That’s been the main step up for me, cutting out mistakes because teams are clinical.”
Micky’s ‘touches’ have made United better as Robson reveals take on Doncaster speculation
Robson believes Mellon, who has been heavily-linked with a move away from Tannadice to Doncaster, deserves huge credit for their upturn in fortunes.
He’s enjoyed working with the 49-year-old, who checked in from Tranmere Rovers last summer on a two-year deal, and believes it will take a lot to turn Mellon’s head away from what he’s building at United.
“Nothing has been said to the players (about the speculation) and the gaffer hasn’t said anything,” Robson revealed.
“I think that’s just something that’s been spoken about outside of the club.
“We don’t know anything about it. We’re just here, and the gaffer’s still here and his main focus is on Dundee United.
“That’s the same for the players, and we’re just taking everything day by day, doing our jobs and winning games. That’s all we can do.
“We don’t really worry about other things in the background.
“There is a sense that he is building something at Dundee United.
“We’ve come a long way and had an unbelievable season in our first season back in the Premiership. I think the manager’s touches are coming through now and we all know how he wants us to play.
“As a squad, we have a good understanding with the manager. If the chance came for him to leave, I think it would be a tough decision for him.”
New dad Jamie is getting plenty of sleep
Off the pitch, Robson’s thoughts are dominated by something entirely different.
He and partner Holly have recently welcomed baby boy Reuben into the world and Robson has credited his missus for allowing him to avoid any sleepless nights before big matchdays.
“It’s been all right, he’s been sleeping not too bad,” Robson said.
“My missus does the nights before the games which helps me out, right enough!”