Scotland started their campaign for promotion in some style with a 7-0 thrashing of Ukraine in the opening pool match at the European Championships II at Glasgow Green yesterday.
Perhaps the only area of debate was that the Scots should have scored more, given their total domination of the contest.
In front of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Jen Wilson’s charges threw off the early tournament jitters with two goals in the opening seven minutes.
A quick free hit saw the ball reach Kaz Cuthbert and the Scotland captain fed it on to Charlotte Watson, who nudged it into the net for the perfect start.
Before the Ukrainians could collect their composure they were hit with another lethal finish. Again Cuthbert was involved as the ball fell kindly to Lucy Lanigan, whose reverse stick shot found the net to double the tally.
Sarah Jamieson then saw her shot cannon off a post, Fiona Burnet’s effort was blocked and a strike from Sarah Robertson squirmed just wide of the target.
However, the third goal was merely delayed. At Scotland’s first penalty corner Amy Costello’s shot was blocked, but the ball fell directly at the stick of Cuthbert and the Wildcats defender stroked it home.
In the continued one-way traffic a Robertson strike eluded two diving colleagues and went to safety off a post.
A combined move involving Emily Dark and Kate Holmes opened up the Ukrainian defence and Wimbledon’s Fiona Burnet finished in style for a 4-0 half-time scoreline.
The Scots continued to create chances and early in the second half, a turn and shot by Burnet went just wide while Cuthbert’s reverse stick pass just missed the stick of the diving Holmes.
The rest of the third quarter saw the Ukrainians come more into the game as the Scots lost a little of their momentum, but there was no breakthrough for the visitors.
Seconds before the quarter end a through ball from Jen Eadie found Dark in plenty of space and the 18-year-old Taysider lashed the ball past the keeper for the fifth. Early in the fourth quarter a breakaway move was started by Jamieson, she fed the ball on to Lanigan and the Watsonians striker dodged the goalkeeper and fired the ball into the empty net to put the hosts a commanding six goals clear.
Ukraine almost pulled one back at a penalty corner but the goal-bound shot was diverted to safety by Cuthbert on the goal line.
Further chances fell to Holmes and Watson before the Scotland captain completed the rout. Watson made the running and unselfishly crossed the ball to Cuthbert who calmly deflected it past the keeper for her own second of the contest.
The Scots, who are next up against the Czech Republic tomorrow, are in pole position with a two-point lead after the Czechs and Austria drew 2-2 in the later pool match.