Just like the majority of the nation back in 2003, young Hayley Lauder sat glued to her television set, mesmerised, nervous and excited as Scotland took on the might of the Netherlands in two-legged European Championship Play-Off.
Lauder, then 13, watched on as Scotland rode their luck before James McFadden lifted the hopes of a nation by giving Berti Vogts’ side an unlikely first-leg advantage.
The return match in Amsterdam left Scottish dreams in tatters as a football superpower produced a masterclass in storming to a 6-0 rout. Even through her disappointment, Lauder was awestruck by the class of the Dutch superstars as it fuelled her passion for football.
During the intervening years, she emerged as one of the hottest properties in Scottish Women’s football and cemented her place as a mainstay of the national team.
Having earned 63 caps for her country, she has seen and experienced almost all that there is in football.
Having come through the youth ranks with Murieston Girls before playing in the Scottish Women’s Premier League with Spartans and then playing professionally in Cyprus, Finland and Sweden, she understands the importance of a large and vociferous support.
On Saturday, Scotland once again pit their wits against the Netherlands in a play-off, this time at Tynecastle (kick-off 5.30pm) with a place at the Fifa Women’s World Cup the prize.
Lauder is hoping that the Tartan Army turn out in force to back the national side just as they did 11 years ago.
“I remember the game well as I was watching it at home with my dad,” commented the former Spartans winger.
“What I remember most about the game was the incredible atmosphere and the buzz that went round the country at the time.
“I love watching the national teams play and seeing them do well, but that day the Scottish supporters were like an extra man.
“Whilst Tynecastle won’t be full on Saturday, it would be amazing if we could get a big crowd for this game.
“We have very loyal fans that have supported us throughout the campaign but it would be great to see some more through the gate. There’s nothing better than playing in front of a noisy, boisterous home crowd cheering us on.”
The Scots won eight of their ten qualifying fixtures only to just miss out on automatic qualification for next summer’s finals following defeat by Sweden.
Anna Signeul’s side have made enormous strides forward in recent years and stand on the cusp of making history by becoming the first Scottish Women’s side to reach a major finals.
Lauder said: “We’re all really looking forward to the games, we’ve worked hard throughout the year to get to this point so we’re going to enjoy the occasion.
“We set out to qualify for the World Cup and we’re still on course. We came up against a good Swedish side, but we secured our play-off spot convincingly and that was really pleasing for us.
“We know it’s going to be tough but we set out at the start of the campaign with the goal of qualifying for Canada and that remains our goal.
“We had good consistent performances throughout the campaign and that can only stand us in good stead for these upcoming matches. I’ve played against Holland on a few occasions and we have been successful, particularly at the Cyprus Cup.
“They’re a good footballing side and we have respect for them, but I’m sure that respect is mutual.
“They have fast and technical players, especially going forward, and that’s something we need to be wary of.”
The Vittsjö GIK winger added: “Qualifying would be massive. The overall interest in the game would grow and in turn would hopefully bring more resources into the women’s game.”