Hibs striker eager for first taste of Edinburgh derby after hitting the ground running following January arrival
and live on Freeview channel 276
The Hibs striker arrived at the club at the beginning of January having agreed to move to Dean Gibson’s side following a stint in Sweden with KIF Örebro, which came after she left England to travel to America to play university soccer and an 18-month spell in Cyprus with Apollon.
But none of that will compare to the spectacle when she walks out on to the Tynecastle Park surface this Sunday for the second Capital Cup match of the season between her side and Edinburgh rivals Hearts.
At the latest count there have been over 11,000 tickets claimed for the fixture as officials from both clubs hope interest builds from the record attendance crowd of 8,066 which watched the sides take a point each in the inaugural Capital Cup – a trophy which was brought in this season to increase exposure around the women’s game in the city – before Hibs lifted the trophy following a penalty shoot-out.
Regardless of whether Sunday’s match beats the highest attendance for a domestic game in Scotland, it’ll certainly be the biggest crowd Lockwood has played in front of in her career to date.
"It'll be a little bit different,” she said, comparing it with a typical SWPL 1 crowd. “Quite a few players will have some nerves but it can help you as well, especially playing away from home but having fans there backing you. It does really help egg you on.
“Yes I'm really excited, it'll be a great occasion. Training has been really good this week so far so I'm looking forward to it.
“The biggest crowd I played in before was during Covid and it was like three or four thousand, but it was all spread out so it didn't feel like it.
“I'm excited ahead of the game. It feels like a really big opportunity. The women's game is growing and it'll show young kids coming to watch what they can achieve. I think it'll be really good for the women's game, especially in Scotland.
“The fans travel home and away for us and they've even started some individual chants for the players. I think it's really good. When you do something well on the park and you hear them behind you then it drives you on even more.
“I didn't really know what to expect when I first arrived. But straight from when I first came in the fans were really welcoming. Even after my first game they all had good things to say and were really welcoming for me.
“It's exciting because you can't always host everyone wanting to go at Meadowbank but you can at Tynecastle.”
Lockwood has adapted well to her new environment, netting four goals in her first six matches as she seeks to improve the fortunes of fifth-place Hibs, who sit three points behind Hearts in the league table going into the match but could jump above Eva Olid’s team at the weekend due to superior goal difference.
She’s managed to hit the ground running despite it being a bit of a footballing and lifestyle culture shock.
“It was a lot colder in Sweden so I'm quite lucky, really. The worst thing over here is the wind,” she said.
“I would say the style of football in Sweden is less physical than it is here, definitely. It's a more technical and tactical game. In Sweden I felt like I had more time on the ball than I did here. Although most teams high press, I definitely feel like that.
“Over here I definitely need to try and hold up the ball and let people run off me. But in Sweden I was the player making the run off the bigger striker.
“I quite like the physical game. I like getting stuck in. I'm from Huddersfield, after all. I always say I'm a different person off the field. I'm typically quite nice and shy. I'm not like that on the field.”
Getting closer to her roots was a big reason why Lockwood decided to swap Scandinavia for Scotland. Whereas before it would’ve mean catching a flight and then another mode of transportation to get to her hometown, now the journey is a lot simpler. This allows her to take in her childhood favourites when it’s a big match, such as when a legendary English lower-league manager takes over the reins.
“For me, Scotland's a lot closer to home than I've been in the past. I'm now only a four-hour drive away from seeing friends and family now. It's nice that they can actually come to the games too,” she said.
"I'm a Huddersfield Town fan. I was at the game this weekend with Neil Warnock coming in, which is good. It was a big win for us.
“It was good to get a wee break. I always try and watch the games when I'm home, especially the one at the weekend as we had a new manager. It was a different team we saw than what had been on show before.
“There used to be a lot of the family going every week but it's only really my dad and my dad's friend now who have season tickets. He had to replace me with someone else so he took his friend.
“I didn't wear a Neil Warnock mask, though!”