Scotland star reveals focus ahead of Nations League clashes and heralds 'refreshing' return of centurion

Forward Kirsty Hanson lifted the lid on the vital lessons she is learning from Scotland’s gruelling UEFA Nations League campaign ahead of the double header against Belgium and England.

A tough set of Nations League fixtures has left Scotland winless in four but Aston Villa forward Kirsty Hanson insists the team are learning vital lessons from their games as they prepare to face a campaign defining clash with Belgium on Friday.

Pedro Martinez Losa’s side were dealt a daunting group in the inaugural Women’s Nations League campaign after being paired with former and current European Champions Netherlands and the Lionesses respectively. However, they still stand a chance of grabbing third spot in the group if other results go their way and they can take points from their final two games.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We know what the results can do but we are focussing on ourselves. We’re trying to push each other every day so that when we step on the pitch on Friday (against Belgium) we can go right at it and get the result we need,” explained the 25-year-old.

"Last time they (Belgium) were very physical and touch tight. It is about my movement and getting away from them. I know I need to be better with close control so it’s about working on that and doing different things to get away from them and my runs off the ball. It is about having the character to get on the ball.

"No matter how the game is going, you can’t stop working hard and that is something I’ve got in me. The Nations League games have shown how much the staff and the team believe in me because sometimes I’m not getting on the ball as much but off the ball it is still helping me stay in the team” she added.

While a mouth-watering clash with the Lionesses at Hampden Park awaits on Tuesday, Hanson insists the side have full focus on getting a much needed result in Leven this Friday first.

The games present a quick turnaround for the squad and she admits the travel time doesn’t leave much room for the team to rest and recover.

"It is difficult having a late game on the Friday, travelling back and the lack of sleep, the recovery day on a lack of sleep and then straight into training – it is difficult – but we don’t moan, we just do the recovery, get on with it, get on the training pitch and put in 100% ready to go against on the Tuesday. The fans can help push us on too” she explained.

Midfielder Hayley Lauder has been added to the Scotland squad for the first time since 2020 and Hanson admits the addition of the 103-time capped Glasgow City star will add an extra ingredient to the squad.

"She’s got a lot of experience. It is refreshing to have her in the squad. I’ve trained with her today and she is very motivating, a great person to be around and always communicating. It is a boost to be able to play with her.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"A lot of the players know her and we are all happy for her. It shows even if you haven’t been in the squad a while, you still have a chance to get back in.

"It is great for the younger players, she is great with them and it is another person to learn off. She knows what it is like to make it to a major tournament, it is great to get that information, what to do and how they push the team.

"The knowledge and information she and others can give can get us to the next level” said the forward.

Scotland face Belgium on Friday 1 December with kick-off scheduled for 7:30pm BST.