Anna Signeul says injury-hit Scots will stay strong

Anna Signeul at the 
opening of a new Scottish FA Women's International Roll of Honour display. Picture: Jeff Holmes.
Anna Signeul at the opening of a new Scottish FA Women's International Roll of Honour display. Picture: Jeff Holmes.
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The injury woes keep mounting for Scotland Women ahead of their maiden appearance at a major championships but coach Anna Signeul is hopeful that Glasgow City midfielder/full-back Hayley Lauder can still play a part.

The squad, including Lauder, fly to the Netherlands today with just over a week to go until their mouthwatering Euro 2017 Group D opener against auld enemy England in Utrecht. Lauder underwent a scan yesterday on the hamstring injury she picked up in the final warm-up match – a 1-0 win over Republic of Ireland in Kirkcaldy last Friday – and it revealed a minor tear.

The fact there is hope and she makes the trip is a boost following the major losses of star duo Kim Little and Jennifer Beattie with knee and ankle injuries respectively.

A further quartet – Lisa Evans, Rachel Corsie, Jo Love and Kirsty Smith – are also carrying niggling problems but they too fly out with confidence high they can be involved in the campiagn, with Portugal and Spain to follow in the first-round stage.

Signeul said: “For Lisa and Jo it is Achilles problems that will hopefully be fine with some rest. Rachel is looking really good and with Kirsty it’s just a little bit in the calf and it seems to have calmed down.”

After the euphoria of securing that historic qualification, the injury problems have cast a bit of a shadow over the build-up to the tournament but Signeul is refusing to let anything impinge on the excitement that lies ahead.

“It’s terrible that we have to sit here and talk about injuries,” said the Swede, who ends her 12 years in charge of Scotland after the Euros to take up the job as Finland coach.

“There has always been a very strong team bonding in the squad. I think it will be even stronger now because of this. There are a lot of players who want to be on that pitch, get their chance to start, and that’s great to see.”

The squad will now spend five days at a preliminary camp to “work on small details and set pieces at medium intensity” before entering the official team base and preparing for that England crunch.

“We’ve got a very tough draw, one of the toughest groups we could have ended up in, and to get England first is also really tough,” said the 56-year-old. “But to drum up some interest around the game it couldn’t have been better,” she said.

Signeul was speaking at an eve-of-departure Hampden function to launch a Women’s International Roll of Honour in the Scottish Football 
Museum for the 12 players who have passed 100 caps for their country, including goalkeeper Gemma Fay who won an incredible 200th in that friendly win over Ireland on Friday.

Signeul has had the pleasure of coaching all of the inductees during her tenure and said: “For a small country like Scotland to already have 12 players with over 100 caps is a huge achievement that says a lot about their commitment to play for their national team.

“I am so proud of the players who have achieved this and personally I am immensely proud to have been there for all 12 players’ hundredth caps.”

Kenny Dalglish on 102 caps remains the only male centurion and SFA president Alan McRae added: “To earn 100 caps for their country is a truly remarkable achievement and it is only fitting that there is a permanent display highlighting their magnificent service to their country within the Scottish Football Museum.”

Scottish Football Museum curator Richard McBrearty said: “It is a huge honour for the Scottish Football Museum to host the Women’s International Roll of Honour. To already have 12 players in the Roll of Honour at its launch is symbolic of the rise women’s football in Scotland has experienced in the last generation and it is fitting to have a permanent exhibit that will continue to grow for generations to come.”