With Scotland’s rugby players getting ready to head to France for a big Six Nations match on Saturday you would think that all of Scott Hastings’ thoughts would be on Paris, but the former British & Irish Lion actually has Rome firmly on his mind.
That is because today his daughter Kerry-Anne, 23, flies off to Italy with the Scotland hockey squad having battled back from injury problems to receive her first full call-up.
The squad will play a three-match Test series against the Italians in their capital city as part of preparations for a major year of hockey coming up – and for Hastings her selection came as something of a surprise.
“I have played for Scotland at age group level before and was very proud to captain the under-21s a few years ago, but in 2018 I had to have an operation on my hip to cure an ongoing issue,” the defender explained.
“That put me out for a few months and it was only really October time that I got back playing and I built things up slowly from there really because I didn’t want any setbacks.
“The Scottish coaching staff, particularly Neil Menzies who I have known since my under-21 days, have been great at keeping in touch with me and monitoring my progress and I was lucky enough to play in one of the Beatson Cancer Charity Super Series regional matches before Christmas.
“My long-term aim was to get into the Scotland squad, but when I got the email to tell me that I had been selected for this Italy trip I was surprised, but super happy to know that all of the highs and lows and hard work have been worth it.”
Having only been born in 1996, Hastings is too young to have seen her dad – and her uncle Gavin – in their pomp for Scotland and the Lions. She may have only been a few months old when dad was winning the last few of his 65 international caps, but over the years he has been a great support and help to her when it comes to sport.
“Sport was always a massive thing in my family because as well as dad, mum [Jenny] is very active and my brother Corey also played age group hockey for Scotland,” the former Mary Erskine School pupil, who has since played her hockey at Northumbria University and Durham University, stated.
“Dad never pushed us into sport, he just wanted us to keep fit and enjoy that with friends which was great because there was no pressure.
“As I have progressed through the age group teams, dealt with an injury lay-off and now received this call-up dad has been a great sounding board and help to me along with mum. He knows about dealing with the highs and lows of sport and has been there for me all of the way, while it is also great that my cousin Adam is now playing rugby for Scotland. I was so chuffed to see him make his debut last year and now being involved in the Six Nations.”
This is a big year for women’s hockey in Scotland. In June the national team will compete at the Hockey Series Finals in Dublin alongside Ireland, South Korea, Czech Republic, France, Malaysia and Ukraine. Then there is the huge home series of games when the EuroHockey Championship II comes to Glasgow in August when Wales, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Austria, Italy, Poland and Turkey will all be involved.
“We all know how important this trip is and head coach Jen Wilson will have us well prepared for the Tests that are to come,” Hastings concluded.