Scotland Women’s Under-19s head coach previews Elite Round
Scotland Women’s Under-19s are in action on home soil, taking on Czech Republic, Russia and Italy in the UEFA Elite Round.
The matches will be streamed live by the Scottish FA on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.
Pauline, how excited are you for this tournament?
The players thoroughly deserve to be in the Elite Round and they are now playing top opposition which will be a great experience for them. As a player you want to play against the best and that’s what they have the opportunity to do.
What did you make of the qualification stage and how the players fared?
We knew right away we were in a really tough group, which is quite unusual for the qualifiers. In terms of how they progressed and performed, it was really good but we never really got the goals we deserved.
Despite dominating against Hungary we actually lost so there’s a lot of lessons learnt there.
In that time together, we really improved and we now have more options in terms of the way we want to play. We’re really excited to test ourselves against other talented groups of players in Scotland.
Where do you think our strengths lie?
The way we play as a team is impressive I think in terms of all the players understanding their roles and the discipline that comes with that. We are also very positive and direct in the final third.
We have a lot of players who are playing regular first team football in the Scottish Women’s Premier League. That’s a great experience for them and you can tell the players who are playing at that level, compared to the ones who aren’t.
Sam Kerr is playing every week at Glasgow City and doing really well. We also have two very exciting goalkeepers in the squad.
Erin Clachers is number two to Lee Alexander at Glasgow City and Eartha Cummings has just broken into the team at Spartans and playing every week.
Some of the players, such as Sam Kerr, have experience of playing at last year’s Women’s Under-19s Euros. How much will they have learnt from that?
Although we do have players who were involved in that squad, they didn’t get a lot of game time. We have a really young squad at the moment and even have some players who are eligible for our under-17s. We have a lot of new players as well so as much as the Euros was a good experience for those involved they will be really determined to get back there and get more minutes on the pitch.
How much will home advantage help the players for the upcoming three games?
It’s great for all of their friends and families as well as coaches within the women’s game in Scotland to see first hand the level we’re competing against.
When you’re not at the games, it’s difficult to imagine what the skill level is and how good the opposition are when they reach the Elite Round stage.
Logistically it is good as you can control training times and there is no travelling involved as well which is really good.
What are your expectations for the matches against Czech Republic, Italy and Russia?
We are ranked fourth out of the four teams in the group so there needs to be a little bit of perspective. However, we are a Scotland team that is out to win every game we play and that will always shine through.
I really believe in these players and am confident in their ability to win games in this tournament and prove the rankings wrong.
Monday, 2 April: Czech Republic v Scotland, 1pm, Oriam indoor pitch
Thursday, 5 April: Italy v Scotland, 6pm, Oriam indoor pitch
Sunday, 8 April: Scotland v Russia, 1pm, Ainslie Park artificial pitch
Erin Clachers (Glasgow City)
Eartha Cumings (Spartans)
Rachel Brown (Leicester City)
Rachel Connor (Celtic)
Ellis Dalgliesh (Durham Women)
Lauren Doran Barr (Rangers)
Leah Eddie (Rangers)
Michaela McAlonie (Spartans)
Charlotte Newsham (Manchester City)
Ellis Notley (Hibernian)
Ellie Kane (Central Girls Academy)
Samantha Kerr (Glasgow City)
Shannon McGregor (Hibernian)
Amy Muir (Rangers)
Jamie Lee Napier (Hibernian)
Nicole Cairney (Celtic)
Lauren Davidson (Rangers)
Chloe Gover (Aberdeen)
Brogan Hay (Rangers)
Caitlin Russell (Motherwell)