Hockey: Scots hopefuls respond well

RHONA Simpson's Under-21 side completed a double during 3-1 and 1-0 wins over a Scotland A outfit in the final games before the squad is announced for the European Nations Championships in Lille at the end of next month.

Goalkeeper Amy Gibson proved to be the heroine with several crucial saves as her colleagues insisted in giving the ball away in the encounter at Bellahouston yesterday. But Simpson's charges finally took the lead just before the interval. Louise Fleming's initial set piece volley hit a post but Grove's Sophie McIntyre followed up to fire home the rebound for the lead.

Gibson proved the catalyst after the interval, she stopped a powerful shot from Julie Bryce and then twice saved penalty corner efforts from Becky Merchant. In a final drive to get back on to level terms Scotland's second string pounded the junior's goal, shots from Susan McGilveray and Heather Elder again brought the best out of Gibson.

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In the first encounter on Saturday the youngsters took charge in only three minutes when a Sophie McIntyre strike was saved by the keeper and Rebecca Condie followed up to slot home the rebound. Simpson's charges went two ahead a few minutes later from Grove striker Daniele Johnston.

The junior side were in total command and Johnston set up the third, her pass found CALA Edinburgh striker Emily Bain who scored with a low shot.

After the interval the under-21 side lost a bit of tempo and Scotland's second string were able to pull one back through Susan McGilveray.