Scotland reaction: Hampden crowd flat, Caroline Weir a huge miss, unsung Scotland hero's hits cap milestone
Caroline Weir was a huge miss as injuries pile up for Scotland
Scotland head coach Pedro Martinez Losa was frank in his assessment last night that when a player of Weir’s ability is unavailable for selection, Scotland struggle to replace her in the starting XI such is her world class ability and it was never more evident than last night.
Already without Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert for the Nations League double header, Manchester United’s teenage star Emma Watson was sent home last week after suffering a training ground injury that is understood will rule her out for some time. To lose Weir after just 15 minutes of last night’s game saw Scotland right up against it.
While many will point to the fact their battling spirit and never say die attitude grabbed them a point in the end, the bulk of the game saw Scotland struggle immensely to carve open their Belgian counterparts without the talents of Weir. Martinez Losa must remedy an alternative option in the absence of the 28-year-old to ensure his team can open teams up when she isn’t there.
Where was the atmosphere from Friday night? Hampden crowd outsung by smattering of Belgians
While last night’s display was gritty at best, Scotland have shown huge improvements over the last year and, akin to their male counterparts, have mixed it with some of the world’s top ranked nations, losing just one of their last eight games. So why was last night’s Hampden atmosphere so flat?
In Friday’s game against the Lionesses, around 1,000 travelling Tartan Army fans made their voices heard as they roared the side on in the Wearside night. Flower Of Scotland could be heard clearly from the stands and continuous chants of ‘Scotland’ were also evident, however, more than 7,000 Scots were outsung by 10 of so travelling Belgian fans situated high up in the stand last night.
Near neighbours Republic Of Ireland attracted over 30,000 fans to the Aviva Stadium last weekend, while the Lionesses consistently see sold out crowds wherever they play, yet Scotland have struggled to attract more than a fifth of Hampden since home games have been situated there – and it is clearly a struggle to get any atmosphere going.
Could it be time to take the team on a tour of Scottish grounds, give the rest of the nation a chance to see some world class Scottish talent, improve the atmosphere by seeing stands filled and inspire the nation’s youth?
Lee Gibson is so often Scotland’s unsung hero – she deserved her assist on her 50th cap
There have been few players produced by Scotland over the last decade or so that have the same winning mentality as Glasgow City’s Lee Gibson – 10 league titles, five Scottish Cups and four Scottish League Cups will tell you that.
At both club and international level she is so often the unsung hero both on and off the pitch so it was great to see the 32-year-old lavished with praise last night after grabbing a rare goalkeeper’s assist on her 50th cap for her country.
With Gibson between the sticks, Scotland has one of the most consistent goalkeepers in Europe and she only seems to improve season upon season. Her first class attitude, belief in her team mates and sheer will to win are huge to Martinez Losa’s dressing room and will prove pivotal if Scotland are to make a major tournament again in the coming years.