Twist of fate led to Hibs Ladies goalie wearing the gloves

Jenna Fife was asked to deputise for an absent keeper and has never looked back. Picture: Toby Williams
Jenna Fife was asked to deputise for an absent keeper and has never looked back. Picture: Toby Williams
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Jenna Fife admits she’d never have dreamt of playing Champions League football had it not been for a twist of fate which saw her become a goalkeeper.

Having fallen in love with playing football while at Corstorphine Primary School, Fife was happy enough playing as a right back or winger for Livingston girls’ side Murieston United.

But when their goalkeeper became unavailable for a game, Fife was asked to pull on the gloves, a move which, the 20-year-old Hibs Ladies stopper agrees, totally transformed her career.

The Napier University student recalled: “I began playing at primary school because most of my class did so. It was mixed, boys and girls and I don’t think we really thought about positions in those days.

“I was playing outfield at Murieston when our goalkeeper couldn’t make a game and they asked me to go in goal because they thought I was quite good having mucked about at it in training.

“I didn’t think I was much good but I said ‘yes,’ and I’ve been there ever since. I think I can genuinely say, 100 per cent, that if I hadn’t had that one opportunity to play in goals I wouldn’t be looking forward to playing Bayern Munich next week.”

Fife freely admits the clash with the German women’s champions at Easter Road will easily be the biggest game of her career, simply “unbelievable”.

The Scotland Under-19 cap who trains under the watchful eye of former Hibs goalkeeper Andy McNeil who is now with Morton, said: “The excitement has been building. It’s going to be a hard challenge but to get one of the favourites to win the trophy means it’s going to be a great experience for us.

“I’ve seen quite a few of their games on television and they look strong, physical and fast – but we are up for it.”

Women’s football in Scotland doesn’t enjoy the same exposure but with the visit of Bayern being televised live by BBC ALBA, Fife hopes she and her team-mates can help lift the game’s profile.

She said: “We’ve been on telly once, in the Scottish Cup final which was a step forward, but it’s disappointing we don’t see more.

“Hopefully in the coming days we’ll get a lot of media coverage leading up to Bayern and persuade a decent crowd to come along.

“The fact it’s going to be live on television will also, hopefully, see us get more and more coverage in future.”

Fife, who revealed Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon was her hero as she grew up, accepts she’s likely to be far busier on the night than Bayern’s goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela, ten years her senior and capped 53 times for Finland.

But she aims to use the experience to help push towards her ambition of one day becoming a full internationalist herself.

She said: “I’ve played Under-17s and Under-19s for Scotland and I’ve been to a few training camps with the full squad so the aim is to get to that level and games like Wednesday can only help me achieve that goal.”