Scotland’s women put to bed the demons of their failed European Championship qualifying campaign – with an emphatic 10-0 win away to Cyprus this lunchtime.
In what was Stuart McLaren’s first game in charge of the National Team, the interim boss saw his side dominate Cyprus, during the dead rubber match in the Euro qualifiers.
Erin Cuthbert, Martha Thomas and Jane Ross all notched doubles for Scotland, with Caroline Weir, Kirsty Hanson, Lizzie Arnot and Claire Emslie also firing home.
Manchester City midfielder Caroline Weir’s goal was the pick of the bunch – a wonderful solo effort which saw Weir take on three defenders, before nonchalantly chipping home past Matthaiou in the Cyprus goal.
Whilst this win comes against significantly weaker opposition, it will give Scotland hope that they can turn their fortunes around after a disappointing qualifying campaign.
Interim Head Coach Stuart McLaren told BBC Scotland: “I’m a happy man after that performance and that result. We challenged the players to just go and remind everybody how good they are.
“We asked the players to have a bit more conviction and be a wee bit more ruthless in front of goal. They obviously did that with scoring ten goals in the 90 minutes.
“The pleasing aspect for me most of all was that they never let up for the full 90 minutes. There’s a real determination to make sure that this is the start of the next stage.”
Scotland took the lead in the match just 11 minutes in when forward Erin Cuthbert fired home a half-volley from an expert cross by Kirsty Hanson, before a second was added through striker Martha Thomas on 23 minutes.
Caroline Weir’s stunning solo effort came just three minutes later, and at this point the match looked well out of reach for struggling Cyprus.
And it was to go from bad to worse for the home side, when Scotland added a fourth and fifth goal before half time – with Kirsty Hanson finishing well from the edge of the box, before Erin Cuthbert secured her double moments later.
McLaren then made his first changes as Scotland boss, with Natalie Ross, Claire Emslie and Lisa Robertson coming on at half time.
It only took about ten minutes for Scotland to settle before the goals started flying in again; Lizzie Arnot made it six on 57 minutes. Claire Emslie, who was impressive after her half time introduction, got her goal less than ten minutes later with a cushioned left-footed finish after a well-worked move.
Jane Ross was the next substitute to come on and make a difference in the game – scoring Scotland’s eighth and tenth goals. Martha Thomas’ second of the game was sandwiched between the Ross’ brace.
Scotland will be ruing the missed opportunity to qualify for the European Championships, but this victory will undoubtedly give the squad confidence in their ability to reach another major tournament in the near future.
This win will certainly put Stuart McLaren in with a shout of scooping the top job on a permanent basis, and on this performance it would be naive to rule former Stirling Albion coach out.
Scotland play Portugal on Tuesday February 23, with kick-off at 3:15pm. You can watch the match live on BBC Alba.
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