Plenty of learnings for Pauline MacDonald following Women’s Under-17s Elite Round

Scotland Under-17s were in France for the three UEFA Elite Round matches and lost out to the hosts, Sweden and Finland in three tough matches for Pauline MacDonald’s side.

Despite the defeats, the head coach has taken a number of learnings from the matches.

What are your reflections on the three Elite Round matches?

The objectives for us were to ensure that the players were tactically equipped to restrict the play of the opponent. We were able to do that in the first 50 minutes of most games but in terms of coping with the 80 minutes, we struggled physically.

What learning’s can be taken out of the games?

It was an eye opening and positive learning experience for the players to see the level of physicality and technical proficiency that is out there on the continent. It shows the levels we need to strive for if we want to compete at this level.

The first 45 minutes of the Finland game were the most pleasing period for us as it was 0-0 at half-time but I think with it being the last game, our players were tired and the opposition ran away from us.

Finland narrowly qualified which I think signifies how challenging the group actually was as it’s not often the French don’t qualify for the finals.

What’s next for the women’s under-17s?

It’s important that we reflect and identify how we can continue to develop, especially when we’re not together as a group.

For myself and my technical staff, we’ve had a season working with this group and the key thing for us is to improve the players physicality and get the message out to their respective clubs the level they need to reach to compete against the top nations when they're on international duty.

UEFA Elite Round Qualifiers Schedule

Scotland 0-6 France
Thursday 22 March, kick-off 1pm (UK time)
State Andre Darrigade (Dax)

Sweden 4-0 Scotland
Sunday 25 March, kick-off 4pm (UK time)
State Andre Darrigade (Dax)

Finland 5-0 Scotland
Wednesday, 28 March, kick-off 2pm (UK time)
Stade Andre Darrigade (Dax)

Scotland squad

Goalkeepers

Jade Baillie (Rangers)
Emily Mutch (Aberdeen)

Defenders

Jenna Clark (Rangers)
Leah Fleming (St Johnstone)
Kelsey Gibson (London Bees)
Robyn McCafferty (Hibernian)
Tara McGonigle (Celtic)
Sara McWhirter (Rangers)
Chloe Warrington (Celtic)

Midfielders

Abby Callaghan (Central Girls Academy)
Laura McCartney (Glasgow City)
Rebecca McGowan (St Johnstone)
Kirstie McIntosh (Rangers)
Jennifer Smith (Heart of Midlothian)

Forwards

Morgan Cross (Central Girls Academy)
Kathleen McGovern (Celtic)
Kirsty Morrison (Hibernian)
Elena Santoyo-Brown (Spartans)
Millie Senior (Manchester United RTC)
Naomi Welch (Central Girls Academy)