Hibernian forward Lizzie Arnot admits her sights are still set on professional football after speaking for the first time about a move to Manchester City which fell through last year.
The 22-year-old, who is back in the Scotland squad after 14 months out with an ACL rupture, had agreed terms with the big-spending FA WSL1 club before incurring the injury. It not only scuppered the move south, but cost the player her chance of playing in Euro 2017.
“The girl faked to go one way and I went with her and fell over – it was as simple as that,” Arnot explained of the Hibs training ground incident. “I was very worried straight away, because you hear a noise.
“But I wasn’t in any pain and I drove home, which took about half an hour. It must have been the adrenaline.”
Once the ACL rupture was confirmed the Manchester City deal was off. “I was thinking: ‘How has this happened at this time?’,” the winger revealed.
“It was a big blow, and one of the toughest things to deal with, but you can’t dwell on it. If you keep thinking about what might have been, it’ll just make you feel worse.”
There is speculation that Hibs could lose a number of players to English clubs over the summer, but given that she was offered a deal last year, and that her form has been spectacular since her return to the side in mid-April, Arnot presumably remains the No 1 target.
“It’s still an ambition,” she admitted. “It would be good to challenge myself in a new environment and a new league.
“I’ve been at Hibs a long time and they’ve supported me through my rehab and everything. But if the right opportunity came up I wouldn’t want to let it pass because I don’t know how frequent they’ll be.
“You realise how quickly things can be lost, so I’d want to take it if it came up.”
Although she has only played eight club games since her return, the first three of them as a substitute, Arnot has scored 12 times and helped to transform Hibs’ performances. The highlight was scoring five and providing two assists in a 9-0 demolition of Celtic in the SWPL Cup final a fortnight ago.
That game was played at Falkirk Stadium, which coincidentally is also the venue for Scotland’s 2019 World Cup qualifier against Belarus on Thursday night. Arnot’s performance against Celtic must make it very tempting for Shelley Kerr, pictured inset, to give the in-form player game time, but the head coach is spoiled for choice in the wide attacking positions.
Claire Emslie, a former Hibs player, has been one of Scotland’s outstanding performers since Kerr replaced Anna Signeul after the Euros. Ironically she joined Manchester City from Bristol City two months after Arnot’s ACL.
Arsenal’s Lisa Evans and Rosengard’s Fiona Brown also have strong claims for the wide positions but the game against Group 2 strugglers Belarus seems ideal for Arnot to appear at some point.