Scotland reaction: The kids are alright, Nicola Docherty goal, Sam Kerr times two and missed opportunity

Scotland Women recorded a famous result in the London sun on Good Friday as they defeated World Cup 2023 hosts Australia. Graham Falk looks at four of the biggest talking points from an important victory that bodes well for the future.

The kids are alright

When Scotland reached back to back major tournaments for the first time in 2017 and 2019, the likes of Jen Beattie, Erin Cuthbert and Rachel Corsie became the poster girls of Scottish Women’s football and the talents that fans would hang their hat on.

Fast forward four years later - Beattie has retired from international football and star players Cuthbert and captain Corsie were both ruled out of the clash with World Cup hosts (and one of the favourites) Australia owing to injury. After a disappointing last 12 months, Scotland required a morale boost on Friday and with several big names missing the task of beating Australia looked tougher than ever.

Here are four things we learnt from Scotland Women's win over Australia on Friday (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)Here are four things we learnt from Scotland Women's win over Australia on Friday (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Here are four things we learnt from Scotland Women's win over Australia on Friday (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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However, those injuries handed the responsibility to the likes of 17-year-old Emma Watson to hammer home the age old phrase of ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’ – and boy did they deliver.

Rangers’ teen sensation was linked with a move to Manchester United recently and her performance against the Matildas was evidence as to why the Women’s Super League giants have identified her as one of the country’s leading lights. Facing the far more experienced Katrina Gorry in the engine room, Watson tackled, harried and caused plenty of issues for Tony Gustavsson’s side.

Alongside Watson, Glasgow City’s Lauren Davidson was impressive as a late sub. Having scored 23 league goals for her club side this term, the winger is another exciting young international Scotland has high hopes for, 24-year-old Chelsea Cornet also made her debut in the clash and certainly did not look out of place. Almost overnight, Scotland has a side packed with young hungry players that could usher in a bright new era with the Spanish coach.

Three at the back or four at the back – the defensive setup was outstanding

Eyebrows were raised when Scotland appeared to line up in a back three that included full back Emma Mukandi in the centre flanked by Sophie Howard and Nicola Docherty – but the experienced trio were magnificent alongside goalkeeper Lee Gibson as they shut out one of the best strike forces in the world.

In truth, the back line appeared to transition between a back three and a back four throughout the game but, either way, they worked cohesively as a unit and produced the best defensive display yet under the Spanish head coach – and even managed to grab a goal for themselves through Docherty’s screamer of a strike in the 47th minute.

The communication from Gibson in the Scotland goal was top drawer and the organisation between the experienced back line was a marked improvement on what was seen in the Pinatar Cup and the heartbreaking defeat to Republic Of Ireland in the World Cup play offs. Rangers full back Docherty in particular was formidable and faultless throughout.

Of course, fans will look to the world class talents of Caroline Weir and Cuthbert to be Scotland’s game-changers but it is a continuation of this resolute defensive display that will allow their attacking talent to prosper further up the field.

Fan disappointment at kick off time and venue

Probably the only disappointment from Friday’s win over Australia was how few Scotland fans were able to witness it in person due to the bizarre choice of venue and kick off time.

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Dubbed as a ‘home’ game for Australia, the venue of Wimbledon FC’s Cherry Red Records Stadium and kick off time of 1.15pm felt like a real missed opportunity after seeing attendances grow game by game since the women’s national team were moved to the home of Scottish football on a regular basis.

How much Scotland and the SFA had to do the venue choice and kick off time is unknown with the Matilda’s likely to have requested the game was played in London due to their clash with England the following week. With just over 2,000 fans in attendance, it would have been far better to see the game moved to Hampden Park where we would have undoubtedly seen more fans in attendance and another chance to build on the momentum of Scottish women’s football that is steadily gaining momentum.

While many would have purchased tickets to see some of the world’s best players, such as Chelsea’s Sam Kerr and Lyon’s Ellie Carpenter, they would have left seeing a number of excellent individual Scotland performances and left with new heroes – and who knows, some younger fans could have left the game wanting to be just like them.

As the old saying goes ‘if you can see it, you can be it’ and this one definitely felt like a huge missed opportunity.

There’s only two Sam Kerr’s

Dubbed the ‘Sam Kerr’ derby, the Good Friday clash was memorable for more than one reason – both Scottish Sam Kerr and Australian Sam Kerr finally had their long awaited meeting when the pair were captured swapping shirts by the BBC Alba cameras at the end of the game. In one of the more bizarre takes from the game, it was revealed that, not only do they share the same forename and surname, their middle names are just one letter short of being identical (one is called May and the other Mary!).

The pair joked about being unintentionally tagged in stories about each other. Sadly, with Australian Sam Kerr left on the bench for the ‘home’ side, the duo didn’t get to clash on the grass but their meeting at the end of the game raised a smile at the end of a great day for the Scotland side.