Manchester City centre back reflects on her national team experiences
Despite being only 26 you’ve amassed over 100 caps for your country, how can you sum up your Scotland journey so far?
When you’re playing, you don’t really think about the grand scheme of things and how long you’ve been involved for. Age is now creeping up and I’m becoming one of the more experienced players but I’ve grown into it and still learn every day which is great.
What are your memories from your debut?
I was only 16 and it was at the Cyprus Cup.
The main thing that sticks out is that my Mum came out to watch and went to the wrong stadium for the first game!
She eventually made it to the match and was very stressed about the whole thing, which is quite funny looking back on it.
I don’t remember too much about the game itself but we lost 2-1 to USA.
When I was first involved I remember marking Julie Fleeting and thinking ‘oh my goodness, I’m marking Julie Fleeting! Try your best to stick with her.”
It was all a bit overwhelming but it stood me in great stead.
What’s it like having a former teammate as your head coach now, in the shape of Shelley Kerr?
I think it’s quite cool and this is my first time playing under a coach I used to share the dressing room with as a teammate.
She’s changed things for the better and everyone is enjoying having her as the head coach.
It’s comforting to know she’s been there and done it for Scotland. She commands so much respect and every time she speaks you listen.
What’s been the best moment you’ve had with Scotland?
It’s a bittersweet one for me, but qualifying for the Euros was unbelievable. To beat Iceland away from home having been defeated by them at home was brilliant and just an amazing feeling.
I unfortunately missed out on the Euros through injury but to help us get there is something I’m incredibly proud of.
Having missed out on the Euros, how motivated are you to reach the World Cup?
I don’t think anything motivates you to reach a major finals more than missing narrowly out on one through injury.
Every day during the summer of 2017, I made it my main focus to get back stronger and better than I was before.
Shelley was excellent with me, phoning me for chats and making me think ahead rather than be frustrated that I was missing out on the Euros.
I did find it hard not being there but I came out the other end stronger and I am now determined to help us get to the World Cup. I don’t think I’ve ever been as driven about something as I am about getting us to France 2019.
Who’s been the biggest influence on your Scotland career?
I know she’s a teammate but it has to be Kim Little. On and off the pitch she is the toughest, most mentally strong person I know.
She was out of the Euros as well with an ACL injury and was so positive about the whole situation.
She’s one of closest friends and was always at the other end of the phone. She has helped me a lot and is just a great player and person.
How can you sum up the growth and progression of the Scotland squad since being involved?
Women’s football has improved greatly over the last few years in terms of quality, funding and the help we get from staff off the pitch such as nutrition and philosophy.
Most of the players in the squad are now playing full-time which is amazing to see as before, a lot of them were amateur apart from Julie (Fleeting).
Women’s football is only going in one direction now and it will only continue to get better.
Who do you think is going to be one of the stars of the future going forward for the national team?
Claire Emslie has worked her socks off and earned her move to Manchester City. She’s a great team mate and her attitude is unbelievable on and off the pitch.
If she carries that on then there is no doubt she will continue to improve and play a lot for Scotland.