Hibs Ladies head coach Grant Scott has urged some of his Scotland hopefuls to force their way into Shelley Kerr’s World Cup plans.
The Scots qualified for next summer’s finals for the very first time with a 2-1 victory in Albania earlier this week and now Scott has challenged his young Hibees to grasp the opportunity on the big stage.
Hibs goalkeeper Jenna Fife, inset, was part of the triumphant squad in Shkoder, as were former team-mates Lizzie Arnot and Kirsty Smith, who both moved to English Championship outfit Manchester United a couple of months ago.
However, Scott believes the likes of striker Abi Harrison and defender Emma Brownlie – both have been involved with past squads – have the ability to pull on a Scotland jersey in France next June.
“There are girls in our squad who have aspirations to play for the national team,” Scott said. “They now have that chance to go and see if they can get themselves in the squad for next year. There will be plenty of preparation before the World Cup, warm-up matches so the girls need to be performing week in week out.
“I’m sure Shelley and her staff will try to get around as many venues as possible between now and then. Some of the girls need to really push on and see where it takes them because they’ve got a chance.
“It’s a massive achievement by Shelley and the players to get there. I just hope everybody gets behind them and they get the praise they deserve.”
Scott reserved praise for winger Arnot, who suffered a career threatening ACL injury 18 months ago that ruled her out of last summer’s European Championships.
“I’ve run out of words to describe this girl,” he explained. “Lizzie is just an absolute joy to work with and is one of the most grounded and most genuine individuals I know. There are talented players dotted all over but they don’t have the same work-ethic as Lizzie. She’s worked so hard to get back to this level and she deserves everything that comes her way.”
There are more pressing matters for Scott and his players, though, who visit Forfar Farmington on SWPL 1 duty tonight with the match exclusively live on BBC Alba (kick-off 7.35pm).
Hibs are level on 44 points with champions Glasgow City at the top but have an inferior goal difference: +49 whereas City are +50.
Scott said: “We’re always very respectful of our opponents. I think Forfar have raised eyebrows this year having just been promoted. If they were to finish third or fourth it would be some achievement.I’ll certainly be hammering it into the players to make sure there is no complacency.”