As so often is the case, England and Scotland had contrasting fortunes in the latest round of international fixtures. With the former revelling in victory once again.
A memorable day for the Lionesses in many different ways. Their six-goal triumphant win over Northern Ireland came with a few added extras. Manchester City midfielder, Jill Scott, engraved her name in the book of legends as she received her 150th cap and captained her team to victory.
Four debutants made their way onto the Sir Bobby Charlton Park, with Ella Toone even grabbing a goal.
Same old story
The same can’t be said for their neighbours up north. Scotland were handed a defeat by Portugal, two goals to nil the end result. A mishit by Jenna Fife and poor defending was the story being told in Cyprus.
Clinical finishing has lacked severely in Stuart McLaren’s side in the campaign, despite scoring ten in their last fixture. Their golden game against Finland ended in tears and misery, a last-minute goal ending all hope of Rachel Corsie leading the Scots to another major tournament.Embed from Getty Images
Looking at the two countries and their teams, they both possess world class talent. The likes of Scotland’s Lisa Evans and Jen Beattie, all sharing an Arsenal changing room with Lionesses Leah Williamson and Jordan Nobbs. When you broaden out the refinement to the league itself, seven Scotland starters and ten of England’s starters all compete within the WSL. The odd one out being Rachel Daly, who wears the orange of Houston Dash in America.
So, the players and the abilities themselves aren’t the problems. Of course, Scotland’s lack of goals in the campaign has been the literal and more obvious case. But why are two teams who contain high calibre players, have been and will be at major tournaments, miles apart in their recent journey? Delving deeper into it, I beg the question, is it the grand old ‘Scotland way’? Being good at football can get you onto the pitch, but mentality is what secures qualification.
The ‘Scottish Way’
It’s been said for years. Scotland’s lack of success in football has been a running joke for over two decades, even when the women qualified for the 2019 World Cup.Embed from Getty Images
Even when they qualified for the European Championships. Scotland’s failure was still the passing language used for almost everything. With young talent being bred into the senior team, Rangers’ Sam Kerr being the latest young call-up.
That winning feeling
A completely different squad back then, a squad that shed tears of glory against Poland as Lisa Evans’s effort put them through to France. A squad that felt the rumbling grounds of Scotland erupt. They know what it means. But the players who have been brought in to duplicate that feeling appear to lack this same feeling and belief.
All they know is the ‘Scottish Way’ mentality. Is it about time we start relating Scotland to their successes, rather than these failures? Is it about time we start saying the Scottish way of doing things is by doing them right? That way, these players who are called into a winning squad, become winners themselves. They’ll then carry that mentality, that winner’s mentality, into their game.
It’s been proven, having a support system can only be a positive thing. Watching the games from home, even attending them (when we can) is simply not enough. Big them up, credit them where it’s due. Maybe then, the Saltire will be flooding more stadiums around the world.