Ex-Hibee Lizzie Arnot living the dream with Scotland and Man Utd
Former Hibs Ladies winger Lizzie Arnot isn't one to dwell on the past. Given it's little more than 18 months since her promising football career was left in tatters, the 22-year-old is living proof that good things come to those who wait.
A ruptured ACL during a training session in March 2017 not only brought her SWPL 1 season to an abrupt end, the opportunity to pull on a Scotland jersey at the European Championships in the Netherlands also went out like a light.
Arnot is very much living for the now, though.
“I have moved on from last year so I’ve just had to look forward and focus on what I can be involved in,” she explained.
And boy has she been involved. As if a life-changing move to newly-formed FA Women’s Championship outfit Manchester United in the summer wasn’t enough, Arnot also played an instrumental part in helping the women’s national team qualify for their first-ever World Cup finals just over a fortnight ago.
There was a time – not so long ago – that she couldn’t have envisaged the fortunate position she now finds herself in. And the former Hutchison Vale player’s fairytale continued when she scored the only goal as United defeated Liverpool in the FA WSL Cup last month.
“It was great to score but the most important thing was that we won,” said the modest Arnot when asked about opening her account for her new club. “I don’t want to get caught up in all the hype but it was a brilliant day for everyone to get that first win.”
The Scotland cap admits the decision to make the move south of the border – alongside her Hibs team-mate Kirsty Smith – was an opportunity they had to grasp with both hands. She spent six years with the Hibees making 136 appearances and scoring 89 goals.
And the Manchester United connection includes Willie Kirk, assistant coach with the Red Devils and a former Hibs Ladies head coach.
“Hibs were a massive part of my development and my life really, but I always knew if that if I wanted to play professional then I’d have to move elsewhere,” she explained. “So, to be given the chance to sign for Manchester United is a dream really. It was a no-brainer to be honest, I couldn’t let it go by me and I think that was the same for Kirsty.
“But I had a great time at Hibs, winning back-to-back Scottish and League Cups. I would have loved to have won the league with them but hopefully they can go on and win it this year.
“I’ve loved every second down here so far. We’re very busy which is good. I haven’t had much chance to explore Manchester yet but in terms of training it’s been great. When it comes to social media and promoting the team, it’s been absolutely massive. It’s really opened my eyes a lot. It’s things I’d never imagined I would be a part of.”
More than 4,500 fans turned up at Leigh Sports Village for United’s first home game, a 2-0 defeat by Reading. But despite the disappointing result the team bounced back the following week with an emphatic 12-0 victory over Aston Villa.
And Arnot revealed it was overwhelming to step out in front of such vast numbers.
“It was great we had so many turn out that day so hopefully the fans continue to come along and support the team.
“I think the closest I’ve come to playing in front of a crowd like that was at Easter Road against Bayern Munich in the Champions League a couple of years ago.”
And although the countdown is now on to the World Cup in France next summer, Arnot, understandably, isn’t taking anything for granted.
“It’s a massive achievement to qualify and was just amazing to play my part,” she said. “But there’s still competition for places so I’ve just got to work hard, improve and give myself the best opportunity to be named in the squad.”