Scotland boss Shelley Kerr described last night’s Hampden hurrah as ‘a watershed moment’.
In front of a record 18,555 crowd, smashing the previous best of 4098, her players defeated Jamaica to ensure they head to the upcoming World Cup in boisterous spirits and with the backing of the country and some high-profile fans.
“When I was a young kid growing up, girls didn’t play football,” said Kerr. “We had 200 players, now there are 12,000. As a nation we have managed to get over 18,500 here. It is watershed moment.
“I was playing it down a little bit. In my heart of hearts, I was hoping for 15,000. I said 10,000 so to get over 18 and a half , I am absolutely delighted.”
The squad fly out to France next week, where they will prepare for their group opener against England on 9 June and the players will get on the plane with some significant words of encouragement ringing in their ears after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, tennis coach Judy Murray and new Scotland men’s boss Steve Clarke all popped into the dressing room post-match to wish them well.
“It is not a bad bench, is it?” said Kerr, who was happy to see all her players come through the final warm-up match unscathed. “They are all inspiring people. They had a chat with the players. The First Minister is the patron of the woman’s national team and she takes that role really seriously. I think this is the first match she has seen us win, so I am delighted about that, long may it continue!
“Judy Murray is an inspiration in terms of women’s sport and she spoke to the girls about how important it is to inspire little girls to take up physical activity, and Steve is new in the job but went in there after his first squad announcement. So for the three of them to spend time speaking to the players is fantastic.”
The victory extended the side’s unbeaten run of games in the build-up to their first-ever World Cup to five games and while there is still work to do, Kerr was happy with the way they signed off.
“I am delighted to have won the game,” she added. “That was our first target. And we wanted to entertain. The three goals that we scored were really good. I was really pleased with them.
“For spells of the game, we played really, really well but there’s always a but. There is room for improvement. We need to eradicate some of the mistakes we made because when we go to the World Cup they will get punished. It’s something we need to reflect on and improve on, but overall, the pleasing thing was that we generated a support of 18,555. I never thought I would see that in my lifetime. It’s a credit to the players.”