Celtic’s Lisa Robertson and Natalie Ross included in Stuart McLaren’s squad
UEFA EURO 2022 Qualifier
Cyprus v Scotland
Friday, 19 February, kick-off 1pm (UK time)
AEK Arena, Larnaca
UEFA EURO 2022 Qualifier
Scotland v Portugal
Tuesday, 23 February, kick-off 3.10pm (UK time)
Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium, Larnaca
Scotland Women’s National Team Interim Head Coach Stuart McLaren has named his squad for the upcoming EURO 2022 Qualifying matches against Cyprus and Portugal.
Celtic midfielders Lisa Robertson and Natalie Ross have been selected with Robertson aiming for her first cap and Natalie Ross looking to add to her 11 caps, the last of which she attained in 2009.
Kim Little, Chloe Arthur, Hannah Godfrey, Christie Murray and Kirsty Smith have all been ruled out through injury meanwhile Fiona Brown, Shannon Lynn and Lana Clelland miss out due to the risk of travelling from overseas.
Claire Emslie has returned to the fray after recovering from a spell on the sidelines which ruled her out of last year’s matches against Portugal and Finland.
McLaren will be joined by assistant coaches Stuart Glennie, who is a Scottish FA Performance School Coach at Hazlehead Academy, as well as former Scotland international Leanne Ross who retired from international football in 2017 having played 133 times for her national team. She has since gone on to attain her UEFA B Licence. They will be joined by Scottish FA Head of Goalkeeping Fraser Stewart who has worked with the squad over the last three years.
Stuart McLaren Q&A
How much are you looking forward to the next two games?
I’m extremely excited to be interim head coach of this group of players as women’s football is something I’ve always had a passion for. In the past I’ve worked in Australia with the Queensland Academy of Sport and coached Australian internationals such as Clare Polkinghorne and Elise Kellond-Knight. I’ve also got to know some of the Scotland players through my coach education work including Leanne Ross who attained her B Licence and will join us as Assistant Coach.
What will Leanne bring to the group, along with Stuart Glennie?
Ultimately they will provide the best possible service from a coaching team. Stuart has worked with me during our time with the men’s under-16s and we’ve struck up a really positive relationship.
I know Leanne well and she’ll have a terrific future as a coach. She’ll give us a close insight into the playing group, given that she’s walked in their shoes. She’ll put forward her views in an assured way and that’s exactly what I need from an assistant coach.
How important is it to gain two positive results and get back to winning ways after the disappointment at the end of last year?
Any time Scotland play they are playing to win. Over recent years there’s been some terrific success but unfortunately they’ve had some tough situations to deal with in the last year and a half. It’s now about responding to them positively and I’m sure the players are as determined as ever to win these two matches and get the positivity back.
You’ve named a largely consistent squad with a few changes due to injuries. Talk us through them?
It’s unfortunate that we’ll miss people of the calibre of Kirsty Smith, Kim Little, Hannah Godfrey, Chloe Arthur and Christie Murray. As is always the case when players miss out, there’s always opportunities for others including new players and ones who haven’t featured as much as they’d like.
Fiona Brown, Lana Clelland and Shannon Lynn haven’t been included. What are the reasons behind that?
Unfortunately we’ve taken a decision that it would be far too much of a risk to have players who play overseas come over for these matches, given the challenges around Covid. Their non-selection is down to that and it’s an additional hurdle we’ll have to overcome.
Rachel Corsie is the exception to that rule as she has travelled from Kansas for the two matches, quarantining on arrival, but has also received an elite athlete exemption to train with home based players at a training camp at Oriam.
How beneficial has the training camp been?
It’s absolutely invaluable and has allowed us to work with the home based players in a testing environment while they are not training with their clubs. It’s allowed me to work closely with the players and given them the chance to remain at their peak fitness levels. We trained four times last week and will do the same this week to help prepare them technically, tactically and physically for the matches. We’ll then meet as a full squad on Monday.
Uncapped Lisa Robertson has been included and Natalie Ross has also been named for the first time in a number of years. What’s the thinking behind those decisions?
We’ve lost some consistent members of the squad in that midfield area and those two players have been impressive for Celtic this year. They deserve their places in the squad and will give us additional options across the two matches.
Lee Alexander (Glasgow City)
Megan Cunningham (Rangers)
Jenna Fife (Rangers)
Jen Beattie (Arsenal)
Rachael Boyle (Hibernian)
Rachel Corsie (Kansas City)
Nicola Docherty (Rangers)
Sophie Howard (Leicester City)
Emma Mitchell (Reading)
Rachel McLauchlan (Rangers)
Lucy Graham (Everton)
Sam Kerr (Rangers)
Lisa Robertson (Celtic)
Natalie Ross (Celtic)
Caroline Weir (Manchester City)
Lizzie Arnot (Rangers)
Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea)
Claire Emslie (Everton)
Lisa Evans (Arsenal)
Kirsty Hanson (Manchester United)
Zoe Ness (Rangers)
Jane Ross (Manchester United)
Martha Thomas (West Ham United)