The Scottish women’s national team will be back in action on Friday for the first time in 2021. Scotland are out of the running for EURO 2022 qualifying after a double header loss late last year but want to end their season on a high with two games against Cyprus and Portugal.
Stuart McLaren has temporarily taken on the team when they travel to Cyprus for both games. After Friday night’s game, Scotland will stay in Larnaca ahead of Tuesday’s game against Portugal, which was due to take place on Easter Road. Due to the current travel restrictions, however, there is a change of location.
Hibs’ full-back Rachael Boyle retains her spot on the squad while Celtic midfielders Lisa Robertson and Natalie Ross were selected, with Robertson aiming for their first international and Ross looking to add to the existing internationals, the last of which she reached in 2009.
Kim Little, Chloe Arthur, Amy Muir, Hannah Godfrey, Christie Murray and Kirsty Smith have been excluded due to injury, while Fiona Brown, Shannon Lynn and Lana Clelland are excluded due to the risk of overseas travel.
Claire Emslie has returned to the fight after recovering from a sideline break that excluded her from last year’s games against Portugal and Finland.
Cyprus only played against Scotland once in August 2019. Scotland won 8-0 in Scotland’s first game since the World Cup on Easter Road. Kim Little scored 5 goals, Claire Emslie, Jane Ross and Caroline Weir were also on the report.
Before the Cyprus game, Stuart McLaren took time to chat about how the week had gone and his hopes for the first game of the double headers.
He said: “The training sessions and team briefings went well and the players seem really clear how we are going to approach the Cyprus game.
“We were lucky enough to have a training camp with the home players for two weeks before the meeting and that gave me the opportunity to assess their strengths and areas where they can improve. From a personal standpoint, it was good to build these relationships so that they would be comfortable with me and the way I do my job. These sessions allowed these players to be as physically prepared as possible.
“I was impressed with their application and attitude. They wanted to work hard in training and adopted the ideas presented to them. They asked questions and provided feedback on performances. We are impressed with the quality as I imagined. Hopefully that will translate when we go out on the field for the game.
“We absolutely have to do that. In international football, all players are technically, tactically and physically prepared, so the biggest difference you can make is in your mentality. It goes without saying that you can always do something better if you enjoy it. It is to the credit of the players that they realize that these two games mark the start of the next phase and they are determined to begin against Cyprus.
“We have a group of players who are more than capable of winning the game, so we have to do our best and be aware that they are difficult to break and pose a threat to counterattack.”
Goalkeepers Lee Alexander (Glasgow City), Megan Cunningham (Rangers), Jenna Fife (Rangers)
Defenders – Jen Beattie (Arsenal), Rachael Boyle (Hibernian), Rachel Corsie (Kansas City), Nicola Docherty (Rangers), Sophie Howard (Leicester City), Emma Mitchell (Reading), Rachel McLauchlan (Rangers)
Midfielder – Lucy Graham (Everton), Sam Kerr (Glasgow City), Lisa Robertson (Celtic), Natalie Ross (Celtic), Caroline Weir (Manchester City)
Forwards – Lizzie Arnot (Rangers), Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea), Claire Emslie (Everton), Lisa Evans (Arsenal), Kirsty Hanson (Manchester United), Zoe Ness (Rangers), Jane Ross (Manchester United), Martha Thomas (West ) Ham United)