MacDonald looking forward to Elite Round challenge
Women’s Under-17s head coach Pauline Macdonald previews upcoming matches
Scotland Women’s Under-17s are in France ahead of their Elite Round beginning against the hosts on Thursday.
MacDonald’s side will take on France, Sweden and Finland with only the top team progressing to the European Championships.
The last time Scotland Under-17s were represented at the tournament was back in 2013.
Pauline, how excited are you for these upcoming games?
As a group, we’re really looking forward to the challenge these three games present.
At this level, reaching the Elite Round isn’t a given. The opportunity to play against three very different styles of teams will give us great scope to learn and develop.
It will also show our players that there is another level of football outwith what they’re used to.
What are your expectations of France, Sweden and Finland?
They’ll bring different things to the table.
France are very athletic and proficient technically which will bring a very difficult challenge, especially as it’s our first game.
The players have a clear understanding of the intensity that’s required to do well against these sorts of opposition.
It’ll be important for us to have phases in the game where we can get on the ball and have some controlled possession as that’s where we need to develop with I feel.
How have preparations gone?
It’s been difficult because we missed out on a camp recently because of the poor weather.
That meant we couldn’t properly debrief the double header against Iceland but there’s no point dwelling on that.
We’ve planned well since meeting up this time and we're excited about what’s ahead.
What strengths do this group have?
The current team have a fantastic desire and willingness to learn. They are all very receptive to feedback and I think that we have a very strong team dynamic.
That stands for a lot when play against an opponent that is ranked higher than you. You have to believe as a group that you can show that real Scottish determination, focus and desire to excel.
UEFA Elite Round Qualifiers Schedule
Scotland v France
Thursday 22 March, kick-off 1pm (UK time)
State Andre Darrigade (Dax)
Sweden v Scotland
Sunday 25 March, kick-off 4pm (UK time)
State Andre Darrigade (Dax)
Finland v Scotland
Wednesday, 28 March, kick-off 2pm (UK time)
Stade Andre Darrigade (Dax)
Jade Baillie (Rangers)
Emily Mutch (Aberdeen)
Jenna Clark (Rangers)
Leah Fleming (St Johnstone)
Kelsey Gibson (London Bees)
Robyn McCafferty (Hibernian)
Tara McGonigle (Celtic)
Sara McWhirter (Rangers)
Chloe Warrington (Celtic)
Abby Callaghan (Central Girls Academy)
Laura McCartney (Glasgow City)
Rebecca McGowan (St Johnstone)
Kirstie McIntosh (Rangers)
Jennifer Smith (Heart of Midlothian)
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)