Scotland Women star Joelle Murray believes that her fellow players need to go for goals when they take on Israel at Tynecastle Stadium tomorrow (kick-off 3.00pm) in their latest UEFA Women’s European Championship 2011/13 Qualifying match.
The Scots face a three-way battle with Republic of Ireland and Wales for the remaining play-off place as leaders France appear set to win Group 4 at a canter.
With a pivotal match against the Irish looming in mid-week Scotland can ill-afford to drop any points tomorrow and, after defeating Israel 6-1 in their opening Group 4 match, they will be expected to win comfortably.
Yet, Hibs Ladies midfielder Murray insists that Scotland will treat the game as they would any other, saying: “Yes, it is important to get three points tomorrow, but it is just as important to get maximum points from all our remaining games in this campaign.
“We will give Israel the respect that they deserve and certainly won’t underestimate them – regardless of our previous result against them. But, we know that if we miss out on top-spot then it may come down to goal difference and to give ourselves the best chance possible we need to go for goals.
“Individually I don’t know a great deal about them, however, collectively they are a very physical team and although our result against them may suggest otherwise, they are a very hard team to break down.
“I would expect them to attempt to try and contain us, possibly playing a compact formation with a lone striker up top.
“We are desperate to make the finals for both personal reasons and for what it would mean to the women’s game in Scotland.
“We have made a lot of progress in recent years which is ultimately down to Anna Signeul and her backroom staff who have changed everyone’s mentality in the women’s game – both at club and national level.”
The national team has made Tynecastle Stadium their home in recent years and they were rewarded with a record attendance during April’s dramatic 2-1 qualifying win over Republic of Ireland.
Murray acknowledged the part played by the Tartan Army and she is hopeful of another bumper crowd tomorrow afternoon as Signeul’s side gear up for a testing run-in.
She said: “The atmosphere against Ireland at Tynecastle was incredible; it gave the players a huge lift and helped us achieve a stunning win by pushing us on even when the game looked to be ebbing away from us.
“We are thankful for the continued support of our fans and we hope that one day we can get to the level of countries such as France who can command crowds in excess of 10,000.
“The SFA has done brilliantly to promote women’s football in Scotland and advertising for our home games is everywhere.
“Hopefully we can get a big crowd along tomorrow to cheer us on and we can take all three points ahead of what will be another difficult match against Ireland on Thursday.”
Fans can pay at the gate tomorrow. Prices: Adults £5, Children £2.