UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship first round qualifiers
Kazakhstan, SCOTLAND, Austria, Latvia
Sunday 11th October 2015 - Friday 16th October 2015
Shymkent, Kazakhstan

Pauline Hamill says her Under-17 squad will embrace the experience during next week’s trip to Kazakhstan for the first round of qualifying for next summer's European Championships.

Starting on Sunday 11 October, Scotland will take on the hosts, Austria and Latvia in a round-robin competition with the top two teams qualifying for the elite round stage.

Two great performances against the Republic of Ireland last month have given the team confidence and Pauline says her girls are ready for their step into the unknown.

Speaking to the Scottish FA, she said: “It’s quite an unknown place for us to go to. Its a new experience for the players and we feel prepared and ready, given how well everybody performed in the Republic of Ireland games and the progress we’re making just now.

“I think every experience you can give them is a positive thing for young players. Once you’re there the focus is on the team, becoming better and taking each game as it comes. I think they’ll really embrace it.”

“Latvia we know are reasonably strong they played Finland recently and just lost the game. We’ve played Kazakhstan previously in qualifying a few years and go and we won the game 1-0. We’ll need to be patient to break them down because they are really quite a compact unit.

“Austria are very good. They have full-time players at U17 level training every day and they’ve made huge progress lately, so we know that will be a really tough match but one we think we’re more than capable of doing really well in.”

A comprehensive 3-0 win over Ireland at Ainslie Park at the start of September showcased the attacking prowess of Hammill’s young team, with Glasgow City’s Brogan Hay grabbing the headlines with two well-taken goals. Pauline is keen to see similar displays in Kazakhstan but knows it’s a very different stage:

“Challenge matches and Qualification games are completely different. Whilst it’s the best opportunity for us to showcase where we are at it doesn’t compare to a qualification match. All of a sudden there’s a bit of added pressure and as coaches we try to take that off them.

“We’ll try and get them to express themselves like they did against the Republic of Ireland. We made huge steps forward in those games so we can feel confident.”