Hearts goalkeeper Charlotte Parker-Smith on being a big game player, potential Scotland call-up and fitting football round work
After another eye-catching performance, Hearts goalkeeper Charlotte Parker-Smith insists she is focused on club football rather than concerning herself over a Scotland call-up.
The former Hibs and Hutchison Vale player signed for Hearts in February 2019 and has been a reliable presence between the sticks ever since, improving year by year. Her form in season 2020/21 earned her a place in the SWF team of the season. She also collected the save of the season. Now into her fifth campaign at the club, the 26-year-old continues to impress. Her latest match-defining saves came in Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Rangers at Oriam, three of them keeping the champions out and maintaining Hearts’ unbeaten record at home.
Given her form, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Scotland boss Pedro Martínez Losa was keeping a close eye on her, but she doesn’t have time to think too much about it. By day she’s a corporate solicitor. She fits football around her full-time job, typically involving four or five training sessions a week as well as a game. “I don’t know,” she replied when asked about her Scotland hopes by the Edinburgh Evening News. “I just focus on Hearts and do my best for Hearts. That’s all I can do.
“It’s a busy schedule. I work in an office and sometimes from home and I just about manage to fit training around it all. This year I’m just aiming to keep improving, mentally and physically. I’ll keep working hard and enjoying myself. That’s the main reason I play football, so that needs to be there.”
She certainly seemed to be enjoying herself on Sunday, diving to finger-tip one effort out for a corner at full stretch, throwing herself to block another from close range before half time and then rushing out to narrow the angle and win a one-on-one duel in the second half. It was surely one of her best performances of the season.
“I enjoy playing against the best teams in the country,” added Parker-Smith. “It’s a chance for everyone individually and as a team to shine, including me. I look forward to the big games.”
It was a big challenge. Rangers went into it averaging almost five goals a game in SWPL1 but couldn’t find a way past Parker-Smith as Hearts avoided defeat against them for the first time. Parker-Smith didn’t want to take all the credit. She was helped by a solid defensive unit in front of her.
“Defending as a team is something we continually work on,” she explained. “Last week was not any different in terms of preparation. We did the same as we always do. We analyse the previous game and then our opponents. Then we work from that and understand their threats. We know Rangers had a lot of attacking threats. So one of the key aspects of our performance was how we set up defensively.
“Sometimes it can get a bit chaotic when you’re playing a team like Rangers and it almost feels relentless with wave after wave of attack. But I think we dealt with that really well.
The goalkeeper added: “I was very impressed by Jenna’s [Penman] performance at left-back. At the start of the season she was unfortunate to have an injury, so she was in rehab and had to be patient. When she has played she has been excellent. She was up against a very pacey player in Brogan Hay and dealt with it really well.”