Scotland a step closer to World Cup as ex-Hibs striker thumps home extra-time winner
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Victory in the first round play-off at the rain-battered national stadium sets up a blockbuster tie against the Republic of Ireland in Glasgow on Tuesday, with a place at next summer’s final in Australia and New Zealand up for grabs if other results go the right way.
Victory could take Scotland straight to the finals, but depending on a ranking formula they could also face another play-off round to determine the final three spots.
The top two-ranked play-off final winners will go direct to the finals, while the third-best nation will go into a 10-team inter-confederation play-off next February.
Harrison, who spent four years at Hibs from 2015 to 2019 and was SWPL golden boot winner in two of those seasons, came off the bench to thump home Erin Cuthbert’s corner at the start of extra time. It was the 24-year-old Bristol City striker’s third international goal and by far her most important.
On a night of swirling wind and driving rain, her goal and the final whistle at the end of a gruelling and tense 120 minutes prompted wild celebrations among the 10,182 crowd – a new record at Hampden for a women’s international.
Morrison was not picked for the 2019 tournament and admits that getting to within touching distance of Australia and New Zealand is a special feeling.“I think you have to let yourself dream,” she said. “That can be important too. You have to feel it and believe it.
“The last time this group made it to the World Cup I was nowhere near the level. I watched it as a fan and I felt all the same frustrations that they felt. Now here we are within touching distance of making it to the World Cup and that just feels like an amazing opportunity.
“I never thought that it would be something that would happen for me, to go and play at a World Cup. But we are not there yet, we know that.”
Scotland captain Rachel Corsie added: "Abi changed the game, she was excellent. We needed someone to hold the ball up. She deserved the goal.
“We were really disciplined and organised. We don’t feel like we played anywhere near out best, but I think that’s a learning curve as well.”
Scotland boss Pedro Martinez Losa said: “We have talked about inspiring people and you felt that. We believe what we are doing and this was the next level of competing against the best with faith and believing in what we can do.
“The mental strength helped us find the result against a very difficult opponent. We know Republic of Ireland well. It's time to rest first, recover players and get the energy again and go."
Meanwhile, Wales are also through to the World Cup play-offs second round after Jess Fishlock's extra-time goal secured a 1-0 home win against Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Welsh will play Switzerland away next.