Healing process from showdown with Shelley Kerr ‘will take longer for some,’ says Scotland’s Rachel Corsie

Scotland skipper Rachel Corsie is confident the team will be in good shape to face Cyprus on Friday. Picture: SNS.
Scotland skipper Rachel Corsie is confident the team will be in good shape to face Cyprus on Friday. Picture: SNS.
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Forgiving is one thing, forgetting another. But, following a sincere apology and a clearing of the air between Scotland Women manager Shelley Kerr and her squad, captain Rachel Corsie is hopeful that everyone can start focusing on the football again.

But, after a fraught couple of months, she admitted that it may take some players longer than others to completely move on from the disappointing World Cup and the emotional tumult and recriminations that followed.

The fact that the coaching staff enjoyed a self-confessed “few drinks” ahead of that debrief in Paris only inflamed the situation and cast an unflattering spotlight on the players and manager, whose achievement in reaching their first-ever World Cup had led to them being hailed as national heroes.

Nine weeks on, with Kerr having admitted that she would handle things differently if she had the opportunity to turn back time, Corsie says the players have also benefited from a period of reflection, and she is hoping that the negativity can now be turned into a positive as the squad embark on another major campaign with the intention of making it three qualifications in a row.

The first match is against Cyprus, at Easter Road, on Friday.

After things got out of hand in that Paris showdown, there were suggestions that some key players were reconsidering their future in a national set-up headed by Kerr. Corsie said she was unaware of anyone going to such extremes, although she admitted that tensions have been high with players in daily communication and resentment rife.

Which is why the clear-the-air meeting was held on Sunday night, as the squad gathered for the first time since they let a 3-0 lead over Argentina in their final group match in France morph into a painful and ultimately destructive 3-3 draw that quashed their hopes of a last-16 spot.

“It was hugely important to have that meeting. The healing process can take a long time and it will take longer for some than for others,” said Corsie.

“There are some new faces though who have no emotional connection to that and that is nice, too. But we are a strongly-knit group and we will work together to make sure everyone is okay and make sure we are ready for Friday. Getting the result is the bottom line.

Signifying the gravity of the talks, SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell also attended.

“That was important for a number of reasons,” explained Corsie. “He’s been part of the process, he was at the World Cup and he’s been very supportive. For me personally, he is someone I’ve worked closely with on a number of matters outside of just this one and he has been really progressive with the Women’s national team.”

Despite playing her club football in USA. defender Corsie has been “heavily involved” in trying to resolve the dispute and restore some unity ahead of the new campaign and having apologised publicly, Kerr reiterated her regrets.

“That was well received. There were other components, to do with our performance and the environment we created and how we can improve on that and I really do think it is a turning point for the squad now because we have been really objective, detailed and analytical. It gives us the opportunity to grow and we now have to grab that with both hands. The people who are involved all have a role to play to make sure we do move in the right direction.

“The apology certainly was sincere. We have talked about it and we have got it off our chest and ultimately our job is to perform on the field and work hard in training and prepare and be ready for games and that is our intention and that is what we will do.

“There was a lot of emotion at the time – in terms of the build-up, throughout the World Cup, and then afterwards as well and when you don’t achieve what you set out to achieve, I think there is always going to be a huge number of disappointments. That was part of the reflection period. You never want to hear that you’ve not done as well as you could have, no matter who is telling you. That was something we were very open and honest about. We’ve worked through it and made a decision to step forward together.

“It is part of the professional game and it comes with the growth that we have all seen and the fact there is more media attention. Opinions start debates and as players we have to understand and respect that and we then have to find our own mechanisms to encourage each other and make sure we are all headed in the same direction.”

Friday’s match does not, according to Corsie, offer a shot at redemption but it does give them the chance to refocus and prove that despite the summer bruises they are once again a unified team that the nation can get behind.