Misty eyes and Hampden heartbreak: Scotland duo Lee Gibson and Rachel Corsie on "missed opportunity" as their World Cup dream ends

Holding back tears, the hurt on the face of two of Scotland’s most experienced stars mirrored the emotion of missing out on the World Cup.

After all the hope and optimism that had emanated from the Thursday night’s win over Euro 2022 quarter-finalists Austria, Scotland just never got going against a dogged Republic Of Ireland at Hampden on Tuesday.

It could have been so different had Caroline Weir’s 12th minute penalty landed in the back of the Hampden net instead of being clawed away by goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan – but ultimately it didn’t and the tone was set for a heartbreaking night.

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Led by captain Katie McCabe, a tenacious Ireland side were dangerous throughout and grabbed a deserved winner 20 minutes from time thanks to a rare moment of quality in the game courtesy of Denise O’Sullivan.

Scotland's Rachel Corsie attemps to console a crestfallen Claire Emslie and Caroline Weir at full time. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Scotland's Rachel Corsie attemps to console a crestfallen Claire Emslie and Caroline Weir at full time. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Scotland's Rachel Corsie attemps to console a crestfallen Claire Emslie and Caroline Weir at full time. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

There were tears and wild celebrations from the Irish players. However, the noise of Irish joy was in stark contrast to the forlorn faces and misty eyes of the Scotland side, many of whom had fallen to their knees when the full time whistle signalled the end of their World Cup dream.

For many in the Scotland camp, having to watch the record-breaking European Championships from the sidelines last summer was tough enough and, despite positive of signs of growth under new boss Pedro Martinez Losa, knowing they’ll have to do it again next summer was clearly a bitter pill to swallow.

Holding back tears

The first player to emerge from the dressing room was goalkeeper Lee Gibson. Clearly holding back tears, the raw emotion poured out of her as she faced up to Scotland’s missed opportunity.

"I don’t think it came down to nerves. It was always going to be one of those games against a home nation that had few chances in it – and we’ve fallen short, which is bitterly disappointing that we couldn’t put Scotland into another World Cup,” Gibson lamented.

"This squad is so good and that is why it’s so disappointing that we aren’t going to be on the world stage again – we deserve to be at major tournaments. I want to play at another major tournament.

"I love this team. We have such a good group of girls. I look at the likes of Caroline [Weir] and Ez [Erin Cuthbert] and they are world class – and we have so many other good players. We should be showcasing our best and unfortunately we didn’t put in a performance that warrants a normal Scotland performance.

"We’ve shown over the last few months how far we’ve come, on Thursday night beating Austria, a team who have done it at the Euros. Tonight we had an opportunity and we didn’t take it. We need to accept it and recover, it’ll take a while.

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“We’re gutted. It’s such a horrible way to leave a competition.”

Captain Rachel Corsie was, perhaps unexpectedly, in a similarly solemn mood as she emerged from a dejected dressing room at around 11.15pm.

"It’s tough. Everyone’s devastated. Probably more devastated because we don’t feel we performed at a level that gave us an opportunity.

"Credit to Ireland, they made it difficult, but they didn’t do anything that we hadn’t prepared for. Sometimes games like that can become difficult and you don’t feel you can get into a rhythm.”

"Sadly tonight – it wasn’t enough”

However Corsie, whose face adorns the entrance of Hampden Park, knows in the cold light of day that Scotland is progressing as a nation under Spanish head coach Martinez Losa.

"Pedro’s style and the attention to detail extends across all the staff that work with us. I feel that we work at a very, very high level – on and off the pitch – these two games especially, we have felt so prepared and going into these internationals matches the margins are so tiny that being prepared is an absolutely massive part of it.

"It’s really difficult to do because every time we are together, it’s such a short window but over the course of the last year, it has been more evident to see that there’s been a building process. We’ve been putting the building blocks together and when you look at that, you can see how far we have come and I think that drives people on because you want to learn, you want to keep getting better and it makes you want more and more.

"Sadly tonight, it wasn’t enough to get the result, which is what is was all about.

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“But we have to trust if we keep moving in that direction, and quickly, then we can give ourselves the best chance moving forward.”