Scotland Women head coach Shelley Kerr has praised her players for the manner they have approached their first game in more than seven months.
The Scottish Women’s Premier League only kicked off on Sunday following the lockdown and Kerr’s side face Albania in a Euro 2022 qualifier at Tynecastle on Friday.
Scotland won three games in a Spain-based tournament just before the lockdown began but have gone almost 12 months since their previous qualifier, a 5-0 win in Albania.
But Kerr has been delighted with the way her players have reported back for duty following the enforced absence.
Kerr said: “The players have been magnificent this week in training. We haven’t been together for quite some time but you wouldn’t think it.
“They are really hungry, they know what’s at stake and we are aiming to get off to a good start.
“Obviously the games were postponed in September and when you get the players on the training field, you can see how hungry they are to succeed.
“We know it’s been a long time but the English-based players, the players in Sweden, they have been playing, they are well into their season now.
“Obviously the down side is the Scottish game hasn’t started but I have been really pleased with what I have seen in training, so we are in a good place.
“The players have trained fantastically well, they look sharp, they look eager and ultimately we have a common goal, and that’s to try and get to another finals.
“Of course, the league just started last week, but a lot of them had friendly games as well and we have a really professional group of players who are mindful of the things they need to do, and that has shown on the training pitch this week, and also their stats and the GPS.
“We are excited and we just can’t wait for the game to kick off.”
Kerr is without experienced Arsenal trio Kim Little, Jen Beattie and Lisa Evans, as well as Glasgow City’s Hayley Lauder, who have more than 400 caps between them, for Friday’s game and their clash with group leaders Finland in Helsinki on Tuesday.
“It’s a lot of experience that we are missing out on but the young players who have come in over the last year have done fantastic and we still have a lot of good leaders in the group,” said Kerr, whose team have scored 13 goals in their two qualifiers so far.
“We’ve got quality, we’ve got depth and that is something we have been working hard to do.
“As much as it’s a blow to miss key players, experienced players, talented players, equally we have players who can step up to the mark as well.”