Former Celtic, Hibernian and Everton defender Emma Brownlie is all set for her first full season at Rangers after joining the club last September and signing an 18 month contract extension just before Christmas, writes CATHERINE ETOE.
The hard working 26-year-old, who experienced Champions League football and cup glory at Hibs, brings a wealth of experience to Gregory Vignal’s side and hopes her club’s turn to professionalism will inspire young girls across Scotland.
SK: Did you get much of a break before pre-season and if so, what did you get up to?
EB: We had our off season in December. I went down to Bristol for a couple of weeks, I didn’t go away on holiday at all and because it was Christmas I spent some time with family and friends.
SK: How was your first day back?
EB: I was excited because we knew we had a lot of new faces in, it was exciting to meet the new people and see what they are about and get back into football, get started.
SK: Have your new players had to undergo Initiations?
EB: We haven’t actually. I know normally you do sort of an initiation song, but because there are so many new faces, there’s a lot of people actually in the same position. As a squad we’ve gelled very well. There’s some big characters come in and some not so big, but everyone’s got a great personality in there so, so far the atmosphere has been great.
SK: Anyone bossing it in the fitness, running tests?
EB: It changes, as a squad I feel everyone is looking fit and sharp going into the season, it’s been a tough pre-season but that’s the best way for it.
SK: What’s the best thing about being back?
EB: The camaraderie of being around the squad again, just that atmosphere of coming in every day to work essentially, it’s been great.
SK: Who is the joker in the group?
EB: Demi [Vance] is a good laugh.
SK: Who is the chattiest?
EB: Megan Cunningham is good.
SK: What would you say your targets are this season?
EB: We’ve got a good squad, a good bunch of girls so we are obviously looking to progress in the league and hopefully get Champions League football next season. As a squad going into any season, you want to win every competition you go into.
SK: Any personal targets?
EB: Continue to improve, play week-in, week-out and really gel with the squad.
SK: Who would you say your biggest supporter has been over the years?
EB: My mum, she is at every single game home and away, she’s always there.
SK: Can you tell us what any fans who fancy coming to watch Rangers can expect from your home ground?
EB: It’s a good ground, we play at the training centre so it’s a good grass pitch we’re on and a newly built stand last year so it’s good facilities.
SK: And why should any of our readers support Rangers?
EB: For me, Rangers is a huge club on its own and they’ve put a lot of investment into women’s football so I think a big thing for, say youngsters, will be young girls that are playing can look up to people in the first team now and say that can be me, I can actually play professional in Scotland for Rangers one day.
SK: Did you ever think it would happen to you?
EB: I always had an ambition to play professional. I knew there were opportunities but with me growing up the opportunities were more overseas, but obviously it’s great now that has become a thing within Scotland.
SK: How has your time at Everton shaped you?
EB: It was great, it challenged me on and off the pitch because obviously the WSL is a very good league and it challenged me as a person as well to go in and be challenged in that environment.
SK: One of the most intriguing seasons in Scotland is almost upon us, what are your ambitions for the game up here?
EB: With bringing in players from overseas it’s going to increase a fan base as well as quality within and in terms of looking forward, you want that to continue, you want to be able to attract quality players to this league.
Follow Emma on Twitter @emmabrownlie4 and Rangers @RangersWFC
Rangers v Hearts, Sunday 23rd February, The Hummel Training Centre. KO 2pm