Preview: Scotland Women v Northern Ireland friendly

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Pedro Martinez Losa speaks to Fiona Brown and Caroline Weir. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Building momentum following friendly success in April is key as Scotland Women’s Nations League preparations head to Dundee and the challenge of Northern Ireland on Friday night.

Scotland take on Northern Ireland this Friday night in a friendly that will see the hosts hope to build on the momentum of April victories over Australia and Costa Rica following the disappointment of missing out on this summer’s World Cup.

“Those two results performances we took a lot from and it’s just about performing like that consistently against these top teams”, says Real Madrid midfielder Caroline Weir, who will likely take the armband for her side at Dens Park following the precautionary absence of regular skipper Rachel Corsie through a rolled ankle. “Friendlies like these are so important because it’s hard to build momentum in international football. It can be two steps forward and then you go off to your club but that’s something we need to work on and this camp is a good foundation for that.”

Celtic captain Kelly Clark, who this week signed a new contract at the Scottish Cup holders until 2026 has been called up in Corsie’s place while Glasgow City’s Amy Muir and the experienced Lisa Evans come in for the absent Claire Emslie.

Caroline Weir of Scotland
Caroline Weir. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“This is the first proper football training most of the squad’s done”, says Weir, who could earn her 100th cap in dark blue should she feature against Northern Ireland and Finland, I’ve been doing some individual training which I quite enjoy but then there comes a point where you want to be part of the team. We’re coming off the back of the end of season break, so it’s good to start training properly and then from an actual team point of view it’s about preparation for England in September, the Nations League and everything that comes with that.”

That ability to make like-for-like replacements has been part of the development plan Head Coach Pedro Martinéz Losa has put in place for his squad: “I think my feeling is we are progressing a lot on the competitiveness of the squad.” explains the Spaniard who took charge in July 2021, “There’s always going to be little differences but the profile will be the same. Position by position, we will try to build a squad on four or five players’ availability in that role. Injuries become opportunities and I think that builds a healthy environment and the competitiveness of the team.”

It will be the first contest between the two sides since a 1-0 friendly victory for Scotland in June 2021 in Belfast, a game in which Weir would score the decisive goal from the spot and one that would come one month before the arrival of Martinéz Losa as manager, with Stuart McLaren having been in interim charge.

Scotland Head Coach Perdo Martinez Losa
Scotland Head Coach Pedro Martinez Losa. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“They of course made the most recent Euros on merit”, acknowledges the Scotland Head Coach. I think we will expect a team who are very difficult to break down and who are very good at set plays, being aggressive and they will wait for their opportunity. The challenge we will have in this camp is how fluid we will be at this stage – right at the start of the season and that we don’t get frustrated if we miss a pass or a chance at goal.”

In July 2021 Hampden Park became the home of both the women’s and men’s Scottish national team but the clash against Northern Ireland will take place at Dens Park, home of newly promoted Scottish Premiership side Dundee in the north east of the country.

For Weir, who’s hometown of Dunfermline can also be found on Scotland’s eastern coast getting out of the central belt is a reward for those who regularly make trips to the central belt to follow their country: “We love playing at Hampden but I also think there are games like this one where it[s important to maybe go a bit further afield because I know in the north there’s a real appetite for the national team and they always travel to Hampden, I think they are some of our most enthusiastic fans!”

“I don’t think I’ve actually played this far north for Scotland before so I think that’s nice. Hampden will always be our home now, it is important to play there and we enjoy playing there too but I think opportunities like this are also important.”

Scotland take on Northern Ireland on Friday 14 July with a 19:35 kick off at Dens Park, Dundee. Tickets are available up until kick off from the SFA website and the game is also live on the BBC Scotland Channel and iPlayer.

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