Winger Hayley Lauder believes it will take qualification for a major tournament before women’s football in Scotland can push onto the next level.
Anna Signeul’s side can take a massive step towards realising that ambition with a victory over Republic of Ireland in tonight’s UEFA Euro 2013 qualifier at Tynecastle.
A 2-0 defeat from Group 4 favourites France at the weekend has done little to dampen the Scottish desire and former Spartans attacker Lauder has set her sights on qualification – albeit through the play-offs as the French threaten to disappear over the horizon.
She said: “We played very well and competed against one of the best teams in the world at the moment.
“Our performance was very encouraging and we even managed to create a couple of opportunities for ourselves which, had we taken, would’ve made the game pan out very differently indeed.
“We have a lot of strength in depth and it was a tremendous experience for our girls to play in front of a crowd of over 9,000 supporters. Whilst we would love to see crowds like that a Tynecastle tonight, we know women’s football in Scotland still has a long way to go before it generates such interest.
“It would take us qualifying for a major tournament to get that level but that is our aim.”
Tonight’s encounter is crucial to Scotland’s qualification hopes with victory putting them in pole position to make the play-offs whilst a defeat would leave them trailing the Irish by five points with just four games left to play.
Lauder commented: “It’s a straight shoot-out between Republic of Ireland, Wales and us for the play-off slot, so tonight is a must-win match.
“I don’t know too much about them other than they have a number of top players, but with the quality we have in our squad, we will be looking to take the game to them that’s for sure.
“Unfortunately I missed out against France due to a knee injury but I’m fit again and desperate to take part.”
Tonight’s match at Tynecastle kicks-off at 7.00pm and tickets are available on the gate, priced £5 and £2.