ALTHOUGH it was not quite as comfortable as the scoreline suggests, Scotland continued their excellent start to 2015 World Cup qualifying by putting Poland to the sword at the Groclin Dyskobolia ground in Grodzisk Wielkopolski, near Poznan.
Scorers: Scotland - J Ross (23, 42, 46), Love (65)
Yesterday’s performance was better than that against Northern Ireland on Saturday, but Poland, who are ranked 30th in the world, were also more difficult opponents. They had the better of the game until Jane Ross netted the first of her three goals midway through the first half, but, thereafter, the Scots fully deserved their handsome victory even if Polish midfielder Patrycja Pozerska rattled the bar with a ferocious free kick when her side were only one down.
Poland were also handicapped by the bizarre dismissal of another midfielder, Ewa Pajor, in the 64th minute. She was booked for returning to the pitch without the ref’s permission after being treated for cramp, then got a second yellow a minute later for a foul on Hayley Lauder.
By then Ross had completed her first international hat-trick. The Vittsjo striker is having a superb World Cup campaign, and it was her sixth goal in the opening four matches.
Jo Love signed off the win with a fourth goal shortly after Pajor’s sending off and the result means that Anna Signeul’s side have taken maximum points from their first four games in Group 4. They have also scored 20 goals, while conceding just two.
“It is a huge result,” Signeul said. “The scoreline has exceeded our expectations. What is pleasing is that we are winning these games so comfortably. We couldn’t have asked for any more, twelve points and a goal difference of twenty to two.”
The Polish coach, Wojciech Basiuk, having seen his side lose just 2-0 in Sweden against the group favourites last month, was effusive in his praise of the visitors. “In my opinion the Scottish team is heading to the top level and is quite close now to Sweden,” Basiuk said.
“Scotland have a young side which is hungry for success and wants to do something special, whereas the Swedish team has tasted almost everything. This may be a chance for Scotland [to win the group].”
Ironically, the scorer of Scotland’s first three goals has accelerated her development since moving to Sweden to play for Vittsjo. Lauder, who provided the ammunition for two of her goals, also plays her club football in that country.
Ross was, naturally, delighted with the outcome. “I’m playing in a more central position for my club,” she said after her first international hat-trick, “and that has helped me, but Scotland are also creating more chances than ever before.
“Obviously, we are really pleased to have got this result. The scoreline makes it sound like it was really easy for us, but it wasn’t. At times in the first half they outplayed us but we came to do a job and we’ve got it done.
“To come away with maximum points from our first four games puts us in a really good position, especially with such a big goal difference in our favour.”
Scotland: Fay; Brown, Corsie, Beattie, Lauder; Love (L Ross 88), Crichton (Crilly 73), Sneddon, Evans (Lappin 82); Little, J Ross.
Poland: Kiedrzynek; Sikora, Krzysik, Siwinska, Lesnik; Pozerska; Szaj (Aszkielowicz 69), Gawronska, Pajor, Chudzik (Stobba 46); Winczo (Nicinski 75).
Referee: C Vitulano (Ita)