Aberdeen Women co-manager Emma Hunter is confident her players can step up to the challenge when facing SWPL 1 leaders Rangers on Sunday.
The Dons go into the game on the back of a disappointing home defeat to Hearts and will be looking to put in a competitive performance against the unbeaten Glasgow side, who beat the Reds 5-2 in the SWPL Cup earlier this season.
Co-manager Hunter believes her players will have to be physically and mentally resilient against the Light Blues if they are to be in with any chance of taking points back to Aberdeen.
She said: “Of course it’s a test of your technical ability because you’re up against one of the top sides.
“Those players compete at an international level, they’re very athletic and technically very good, so we will have to match up to that.
“The mental side of it is going to play a massive part and we must maintain it for the 90 minutes, especially against a Rangers team that will probably be on top most of the game.
“Maintaining that is something we didn’t do against Hearts. It was a lesson learned that if you switch off or you give teams opportunities to punish you in this league, they will do that.
“Hopefully we can learn from last Sunday and step up to the challenge.”
Despite playing five SWPL 1 games so far, Aberdeen know they can’t rely on their previous results as preparation for what will probably be their most difficult fixture of the season so far.
Rangers are yet to drop a point in SWPL 1 and have an immediate advantage over their opposition as a professional, full-time squad.
Hunter insists her side must focus on trying to play their own game to try and thwart Rangers from running riot against the Dons like they have done against the likes of Partick Thistle, Hamilton and Spartans.
She added: “Football is never going to be that simple and maybe sometimes I wish it was, but there are other mitigating factors like injuries, etc. that you have to consider first before looking at other results.
“I would definitely say we are more prepared since the 5-2 defeat to them in the cup, but they are too. It was early in the season for us both and now we’ve got more games under our belt, they have had really strong scorelines which they will take a lot of confidence from.
“You can try and set up to get the best performances that you can against these professional teams, we will go in with a game plan to try and get something out of the match.
“We will go in with confidence, but there’s no denying it will be tough. We know what we’re up against.”
A successful week off the pitch
Aberdeen have plenty to be proud of off the pitch this week as midfielder Eilidh Shore was nominated for SWPL 1 player of the month and four players were called up to the Scotland under-19’s squad.
Young Dons Bayley Hutchison, Jess Broadrick, Jenna Penman and Eva Thomson will join up with the national side for a round of European Championship qualifiers in the Netherlands.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) October 7, 2021
Hunter is delighted that her young players will be representing Aberdeen while on international duty.
She said: “These players have been involved at under-16 and under-17 levels and now the under-19’s is just one level away from being called up to the senior squad. It’s a huge accolade to have so many players representing Aberdeen.
“It will be a huge challenge for them and I’m excited for them to learn and develop as players from it.
“They will be playing against high quality international teams so they’re going to learn so much so it doesn’t only benefit the individual players, but it will benefit us as a club as they come back to us with that experience.”