Hibernian 0 Scotland 5
The Scottish schools team had their final warm up game against Hibernian at a cold and windy Meggetland last Friday.
Parents and supporters braved the weather as they watched the teams emerge onto the astrograss as the natural grass had been deemed unplayable earlier in the day. However, the supporters of both teams hoped that the action would keep them on their toes and warm up their hands for the duration of the three periods.
Scotland had a whirlwind start which was quite fitting for the day as in a very early attack Bayley swivelled expertly from the edge of the box and struck a powerful shot into the bottom corner of the net. The keeper made a valiant effort but was beaten by the pace and the early execution of the shot itself.
The pressure was relentless from the Scots as they pushed for a second.
It was great to see the eagerness from both Maria and Ellie Jai, as they attacked their opposite numbers with pace and power.
Talking of power, it was also good to see Monica back alongside Rebecca in the powerhouse of the central midfield area.
It appeared to be only a matter of time before a second goal arrived.
On this occasion unfortunately for the Hibs defence it came from a mix up with the keeper who had performed to well until then and her central defender. However, the persistence and guile of Eilidh helped to cause the confusion and pounced on the error to round the keeper and put Scotland two goals to the good.
Unfortunately for Eilidh just after her goal she had to be replaced more probably as a precaution after taking a kick to the ankle.
With the tournament just around the corner both she and Kate who did not play at all today watched the game from the side-lines.
They were joined there by Robyn who had been given the news that she would be going with the SFA U17 squad to the Euro Elite rounds.
Unfortunately for her SSFA team mates it would mean that they would lose their captain for Belfast.
However, with Rebecca stepping up to captain the side and Paige as her vice-captain the squad were looking forward to collectively stepping up to meet the challenge of the three games head on.
The togetherness in the squad was demonstrated throughout the afternoon as the positivity from all quarters was there for all to see and feel.
The fired-up Scots squad soon made it three when Rosie weaved and danced her way past two defenders seemingly on a sixpence to set up the Scotland captain Rebecca who finished with a powerful left foot strike high into the net. It was a fitting finish from the skipper after the wonderful set up play from Rosie.
Alicia in the Scots goal had looked sure and accomplished taking charge of any situations that had come her way.
The back four of Jess, Paige, Jenna and Lynsey had all played their part in keeping Hibs at arm’s length and were all confident in starting attacks from the back.
Just before the end of the period Maria from the left latched onto a superb through ball from Monica to coolly slot the ball past the on-rushing keeper to finish a strong positive period for the Scots with another goal to make it four.
With Scotland playing against the very strong wind and with changes to personnel the game started cautiously as the players got into their stride.
It was Mirin who took the initiative and strolled purposefully forward to deliver a dangerously flighted ball across the Hibs six-yard line, but on this occasion, it eluded the strikers.
Kirsty was the next advanced player to get a strike on goal but again the ball sailed just agonisingly past the post.
Olivia took over on the wide right berth and did not take long to get the ball in behind the full back for the direct running of Bayley to exploit.
Kirsty started to pull the strings in the middle and Lynsey in a more advanced position did not give the Hibs defence a minute’s piece.
The Scots kept knocking at the door but with the wind getting both stronger and colder the period finished off as it had begun with the Scottish girls in a dominant frame of mind and four goals to the good. Indeed, Gail did not have a significant save to make.
The third and final period again was played predominantly in the Hibernian half with both teams battling each other as well as with the conditions.
Ellie Jai playing now in a more advanced role linked up with Rosie to give the clever striker the opportunity to get on the goal sheet but her strike just went over the bar on this occasion.
It was looking like the four goals were going to be the difference between the teams until Ellie Jai decided that a through ball, that looked over hit, was worth a gamble.
She bravely challenged for a ball that looked the keepers all the way and got the luck she deserved as the blocked clearance fell very kindly for the striker and she could walk the ball into the empty net. It was a reward for her consistence and perseverance all day.
Overall it was another fine win for the squad keeping their winning results in all of the preparation matches this campaign.
Now it is onto the real thing.
This time next week they will be meeting up to take on the challenge of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England in the Bob Docherty Tournament.
For most of the squad it is their first taste of International football but if the recent performances are anything to go by these games will not be their last on the International stage.
Good luck girls we are all with you and enjoy every single minute.