The week has been a positive one, and that was certainly one of the team’s biggest objectives as the women’s national side arrived in camp ahead of the international matches.
The players have spent the last few months with their clubs. Several from the last squad have returned to their English club teams to persevere through a troublesome winter.
As if the weather didn’t add enough woes to fixtures, the ongoing evolution of the Covid-19 virus also played havoc with schedules.
Meanwhile, several others returned to their Scottish clubs to have suffered even more; succumbing to the latest Government restrictions and the complete shutdown of the domestic game for now.
While club football has offered a distraction to the overhanging disappointment of missing out on qualification for Euro 2022, it was something the players felt couldn’t go unaddressed.
The current group have openly brought discussions forward to help understand and process last year’s failure. The remote conversations were frank and honest and it was certainly needed.
The resounding message has been that going into 2021 this has to be the start of great things ahead.
Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert captured it perfectly after the second training session, as she posted a shot from training on social media, captioned: “Let’s get the buzz back”.
“It’s a fresh year, it’s a time to get going, all the squad are really excited and I think it’s a fresh start for us. We’re raring and ready to go for tomorrow.”
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) February 18, 2021
The lows included the hurtful realisation the team was underperforming and our performances lacked the fluidity, excitement and intensity which had previously become ingrained over the course of the prior years’ successes.
That, along with a burdened environment, had become suffocating on the evolving talent.
The privilege has never been overlooked when it comes to being selected to pull on the Scotland jersey, but the players want to make sure the joy and inspiration is ever present.
For those who have been included in the camp this week, that commitment has already been embraced.
Naturally the competitiveness on the pitch has been heightened as new coach Stuart McLaren has taken the reins.
This has brought about the welcome benefit of having new eyes on the squad. And the inherent competitive nature of everyone has resulted in a healthy battle for places.
Away from the pitch, the overall environment has felt elevated as things start to take focus on what now lies ahead.
It would be remiss to think things will be all rosy from here on in.
And some of the more painful feelings and memories are inevitably still present in moments.
Those are to be expected in the circumstances, but there has certainly been a more resounding feeling of calmness as the group commits to push forward once again and we ready ourselves for the achievements ahead.
— EveningExpress Sport (@ee_sport) February 19, 2021
Great to SFA fill head of girls’ and women’s football void
The SFA have appointed a new head of girls’ and women’s football, with the position left vacant since Donald Gillies left back in 2019.
The role was thought to be no longer necessary, however, after a review of the association, I am extremely glad to see the position has been considered vital to the ongoing success of the game.
Currently there has been an evident lack of advocacy for the women’s game at board and senior management level within the association and this particular appointment will hopefully help to bring the start of some change to that.
Fiona McIntyre will take on the role and she comes with substantial experience in the domestic game in Scotland.
Previously, she worked for Scottish Women’s Football as chief executive officer, however, her new role will be considered a significant increase in responsibility that will extend to strategising all areas of the women’s game.
There are parts of the role that will be unenviable, as the inherent challenges continue in gaining greater resources and respect. The expectation of progress in these areas will fall on her head.
Furthermore, there has been some attention of late surrounding the detrimental damage to the domestic game as football has been indefinitely paused. It is expected there will be some loss in momentum and funds, and dealing with that will be an important early task.