Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland’s women’s football team will have people “the length and breadth of the country cheering them on” as they play their first ever World Cup finals match today.
Months of anticipation will end when Shelley Kerr’s side line up against England in Nice this afternoon – and the First Minister revealed she will be joining the Tartan Army.
The national team coach, who was recognised on Friday in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, admitted she was left “speechless” when she was told she had been awarded an MBE after she led the team to top place in their qualification group.
Scotland, who play England at 5pm today, will also face Japan and Argentina in their group on 14 June and 19 June respectively.
Actors Martin Compston, James Cosmo and Sam Heughan, tennis coach Judy Murray, pop and rock favourites The Proclaimers, Biffy Clyro and singer KT Tunstall, Gary Tank Commander star Greg McHugh and Still Game favourite Jane McGarry, and author Ian Rankin are among those to have recorded good luck messages for Kerr, captain Rachel Corsie and her team-mates.
The First Minister said: “The Scotland women’s national team will play their first ever match in the FIFA women’s World Cup against England in Nice this evening. I can’t wait to attend what I’m sure will be a great match with a fantastic atmosphere.
“I wish the team the best of luck in this game and in the competition as a whole.
“They’ll certainly have people the length and breadth of the country – and in France and further afield – cheering them on.”
Broxburn-born Kerr, who earned 59 caps playing for Scotland and captained her country, won every domestic honour in the game during a career which saw her play for both Celtic and Hibs.
Kerr, who has been the national team’s coach since 2017, said of her latest honour: “It’s not often I’m lost for words but I was speechless when I found out I’ve been awarded an MBE and really surprised. It’s a tremendous honour and one I’m immensely proud of.
“I’ve always been brought up with good values and being a team player. It’s times like these that I look back and think about everyone who has helped me.”