Gail Gilmour is relishing the opportunity to play at the highest level of women’s football in Scotland with the Dons this season.
The 17-year-old shot stopper is assured that she has the ability to play in the SWPL1, but admits she has had to adapt and improve her game to keep up with the increased standard of the oppositions attacking threat.
The Dons youngster said: “My training has changed more in reactions. In the SWPL1 goals come from absolutely nowhere. They come from crosses, cutbacks and there can be a lot more technically worked goals.
“I have to be more switched on to the types of goals that can happen and where they can come from. I have done a lot more strength and conditioning as well because obviously the goals will be hit with a lot more oomph, the ball will be hit with a lot more power behind it this season.”
🔜 We are back in action this weekend as we host @accieswfc.
🏟️ Balmoral Stadium.
⌚️ Kick off, 4pm.
🎟️ Adults – £5. Under 16s – Free.
— Aberdeen FC Women (@AberdeenWomen) September 14, 2021
Gilmour kept her first SWPL1 clean sheet in a 2-0 win against Partick Thistle. The goalkeeper will be looking to make it two clean sheets on the bounce when Aberdeen play Hamilton Accies on Sunday.
She said: “It was a great feeling to keep a clean sheet because that’s what I intend to do. It’s always my aspiration when I’m going into a game to not concede.”
Strength to strength
The goalkeeper joined the side in 2019 and has been with the squad as they achieved consecutive promotions. Gilmour signed in the same transfer window that seen Aberdeen bring in youngsters Francesca Ogilvie, Eva Thomson and Jess Broadrick.
She believes that the team has only gotten stronger and is in a good place to compete this season even if the young squad lacks SWPL1 experience.
Gilmour said: “We’re still the same team that I joined we have just gotten stronger as a team. Every signing has brought a new strength and a new dynamic to the team. Especially in a new season in a new league when good things are needing to happen.
“Every game even if its Celtic or teams we faced already in the SWPL2 it’s about the winning mentality and approaching it as it’s just another game.
“It brings more excitement and drive. It’s not let’s see what we can get out of this game but it is let’s win it.”
The Scotland youth international currently balances football with her IT consultant apprenticeship, but knows that playing in the SWPL1 is a life changing opportunity at such a young age.
“I would love to have football as my fulltime career. It’s now definitely more of a possibility that I’ve made it to this level.
“There’s so much opportunities in this league. Hopefully we will finish in a high position and they will take that on board for maybe going pro next year. I’m really excited for the opportunities.
“I’d love to represent my country again. I feel like that was such a good experience and I’m so lucky to have that behind me at such a young age. I’d be honoured to be asked to play, but I’m just focusing on this league right now because that’s what I want to focus on and do well in.”
The @SWPL 1 is back! 🙌
Watch highlights of all the games, tonight from 7pm on @BBCScotland and on the iPlayer ⚽️
— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) September 6, 2021
SWPL1 is at its biggest and best this season as one live game is to be streamed on BBC Alba every week. BBC has also shown its commitment to the league by introducing a SWPL highlight show that airs on BBC Scotland and BBC1.
The highlight show has already attracted an impressive number of viewers as more people tuned in to the broadcast than Sportscene.
Gilmour featured in the first game broadcast on BBC Alba which was a surreal moment for her and her family and friends.
She said: “They find it quite cool when I was on the TV. Some of my family can’t come and see my matches, my dad is all the way in Canada.
“I’m really glad it’s getting covered because it means even, he can see it and that means a lot.”
Gilmour will also be given the opportunity to play against players that she had previously admired from afar. The Dons youngster is relishing the opportunity to play on the same pitch as some of her heroes.
She said: “I was looking forward to playing against Jenna Fyfe and Lee Alexander, they are obviously the Scottish international keepers.
“I have obviously played against Jenna already and that was a real step-back kind of moment.”