Win matters more than raining goals on Georgia

GEORGIA may have suffered a 15-0 hammering by Denmark at the weekend but today Kirsty McBride urged her Scotland team-mates to concentrate simply on picking up three points rather than attempting a similar goal-fest in tomorrow night's World Cup qualifying match at Tynecastle.

The Scottish women got their own bid to reach the finals in Germany in 2011 off to the best possible start, Arsenal defender Jennifer Beattie claiming the only goal in their opening game against Greece in Athens.

Now Hibs Ladies midfield star McBride has her fingers crossed that the Scots can make it a maximum six when they complete the second leg of a World Cup double-header against the Georgians in Gorgie to keep up the heat on the rampant Danes who opened their campaign with a 6-0 win over the Greeks.

And although some may be looking for a rush of goals from the Scots following Georgia's humiliation four days ago, 24-year-old McBride insisted a win by any margin will be good enough.

A former pupil of Ross High School in Tranent, McBride said: "Despite what happened to Georgia we shouldn't be under-estimating them in any way.

"They had their goalkeeper sent off in that game which might have had something to do with the final result but the danger in simply just going for goals is that you can be caught by a sucker punch.

"Goal difference may count at the end of the day with only the winners of the group enjoying automatic qualification so it would be nice to get a few goals but for the time being the important thing is a win. Our next match isn't until we go to Georgia at the end of March so it would be great to be doing so having taken six points out of six."

Saturday's win in Athens' Akratitos Stadium signalled McBride's 50th Scotland cap, her first having come as a 17-year-old in Portugal but she admitted the milestone almost passed her by.

She said: "I'd virtually forgot it was my 50th against Greece because I was so focused on making sure we won the game. The opening match in any qualifying campaign is important, particularly so when it's a tough away fixture like the weekend.

"But it was nice for that landmark to be celebrated with a win. It wasn't the best game to play in, very much stop-start as the Greeks seemed intent on breaking up play whenever they could so forcing us to change our tactics.

"It was a good start but now we have to follow it up by taking three more points which can only see our confidence grow yet again. I'm sure we'll get a good home support at Tynecastle."

McBride has never faced Georgia before but she has every confidence that Scotland boss Anna Signeul will have her squad fully brief on their opponents come kick-off time.

Revealing the preparation for matches is every bit as thorough as George Burley's, she said: "We hadn't played Greece for five years but Anna went to watch them play Denmark so we had footage of the game for video analysis.

"I am sure it will be the same this time round. There's a lot of work goes on behind the scenes we don't know about until we meet up as a squad, Anna or others on her staff fly all over the world to watch teams."

And little expense is spared with defender Ifeoma Dieke of Chicago Red Stars being flown over from the United States to represent Scotland. McBride said: "Ifeoma brings so much to the squad both off and on the park, she's a quality player and we need her in the team." It's a long way from kicking a ball about with her brothers Duncan and Scott but McBride, a police officer with Strathclyde Police, appreciates the journey she has made.

She said: "Apparently I've been kicking a ball ever since I could walk. I used to play for a boys' team – my mum and dad Yvonne and Duncan encouraged me all the way – but at the age of 12 I was told I was no longer allowed to do so. I was devastated but went to play with Leith Athletic.

"It was only seven-a-side at that time which shows just how much the game has developed but while I was playing for them a scout asked if I wanted a trial with Hibs Ladies and I've been with them since I was 12. Now we get to use East Mains Training Centre where we also play our home games which is fantastic and is another indication of how women's football is progressing.

"It's difficult juggling playing football with my job but my sergeant and inspector have been terrific. Football has also allowed me go places I'd never have visited, I just feel lucky to have been able to do so."

Tickets for the match (kick-off 7.30pm) cost 5 (adults) and 2 (children and concessions).

Scotland squad: Gemma Fay (Celtic LFC, captain), Joanna Hutchison (Spartans LFC), Jennifer Beattie (Arsenal LFC), Frankie Brown (Hibernian LFC), Rachel Corsie (Glasgow City FC), Ifeoma Dieke (Chicago Red Stars), Julie Ferguson (Celtic LFC), Rhonda Jones (Hibernian LFC), Amy McDonald (Celtic LFC), Joelle Murray (Hibernian LFC), Kim Little (Arsenal LFC), Kirsty McBride (Hibernian LFC), Leanne Ross (Glasgow City FC), Megan Sneddon (Glasgow City LFC); Diana Barry (Spartans FC), Suzanne Grant (Celtic LFC), Pauline Hamill (Celtic LFC), Jane Ross (Glasgow City FC).