Win at Renfrew in final game before the Bob Doc

Our Girls Under 15 International squad finished their preparation for this year's Bob Doc with a convincing win over St Mirren at New Western Park on Wednesday.

It was a perfect night for football today at Renfrew Juniors FC with a mixture of U16 and U18 St Mirren players providing the opposition for the Scottish Schoolgirls U15 squad. This would be the final preparation run out for the SSFA team before they headed to Athlone in the Republic of Ireland, in their attempt to retain the Bob Docherty Cup that they had won last year in Scotland.

The girls and coaches from St Mirren had stepped forward and stepped up to take on this challenge match and were indeed looking forward to this testing encounter with the young Scots.

Scotland decided to play two teams on the day giving all the players a full forty minutes to show that they are ready to participate and compete as a full squad in the tournament that will test them all in three full International matches in four days against the best players in not only the Republic of Ireland, but also the best players from both Northern Ireland and England.

The Scots started with Morgan in goal, with Erin Gilvear, Sky, Lucy and Iona as a back four. The midfield consisted of Ava Allison, Ava Crawford with Amelie getting her first run out of the campaign after injury. Orla skippered the side from her berth on the left-hand side. Melissa played behind Erin O’Brien who started up top.

The game started at the pace and intensity that the Scots demanded. They pressed high up the pitch and took command from the very first whistle. It was apparent from the off that after their confidence building win over in Northern Ireland last month that the Scots were going to be a stronger unit and a tough test for the St Mirren squad.

The Scots got into their goalscoring stride early in the contest. Goals from Ava Allison, Iona and Erin O’Brian settled the team and with another couple of quality goals being added in the first half an hour it was going to be a tough test for the St Mirren defenders. It was still fantastic however, to see the Scots getting into the good habits of defending when they lost possession and in transitions, habits that they know that they will need when they play in Ireland.

Iona Watt celebrates scoring from a corner

The play was predominantly in the St Mirren half but Morgan was always on her toes when she needed to come out to clear any danger. She kept the back four in order and concentrating.

Her opposite number in the St Mirren goal was required to make good saves and did so as the Scots kept relentlessly attacking the goal.

It was great to see Erin O’Brien adding goals for Scotland as well as seeing Orla Burn leading by example as she tormented her opposite full back.

The half finished with the Scots on top with the crowd seeing good team goals being scored and the players getting the opportunity to express themselves and work collectively and positively.

Orla Burn driving forward

The second half provided the Scots with the opportunity to make seven changes and to utilise the full squad for the first time since the squad was chosen in December of last year. Alex took over from Morgan in the goal. The back four now consisted of Abby who replaced Erin Gilvear , Sky’s new central partner to replace Lucy was Caitlin and Iona stayed on the left hand side providing the forward runs and expert dead ball delivery that she had provided consistently in all the games previously and again today . Phoebe took over from the industrious Ava Allison on the right, with Lily replacing Amelie with Ava Crawford and Orla completing the midfield. May and Dara came on for the industrious Melissa and hat trick goal scorer Erin O’Brien.

The St Mirren keeper pulling off yet another great save

Again, the game started as the first half had concluded with Scotland moving the ball with pace and purpose, looking to play through the lines and forward into dangerous areas.

It was great to see that the pace and desire to play forward at every opportunity was there for all to see as the ‘new’ players wanted to show that they would keep the high press and quick ball recovery and ball retention

Again, the goals were being scored when the opportunities were provided and arose through the slick passing and desire to get forward on every occasion.

It was also great to see Erin Gilvear getting onto the scoresheet she after she had replaced Iona. This was a very nice early birthday present for her.

Lily and May were probing and pressing from the central positions providing Dara with goalscoring opportunities that she took as she was a constant thorn in the St Mirren defence.

Phoebe and Orla kept the width for the Scots providing pace and a constant out ball for the midfield players. Abby kept the pressure on her opposite number as she overlapped and underlapped as she came both inside and out.

Sky Murtagh in action

Phoebe swapped to the left to let Erin O’Brien get a run wide right with Ava Allison rejoined in a more central role.

Caitlin was a threat in the opposition box from set pieces with Alex dealing primarily with back passes and through passes. However, it was great to see her concentration and her demands on the back four throughout the half.

The game may not have been the spectacle that the large group of supporters had perhaps anticipated, but it helped the Scots maintain the momentum and confidence that this group of eighteen young players have accumulated over the months.

It showed and reiterated the good habits that they have worked on in transitions in the play both with the ball and in retrieving it, defending and attacking set plays, pressing high and importantlyt enjoying themselves.

Thank you to the coaches and players of St Mirren FC who competed and worked collectively throughout the full eighty minutes.

Scotland Starting Eleven

St Mirren Squad