Signeul was at Motherwell's ground preparing her side for the match when news broke that she had been shortlisted for Fifa's 2013 women's coach of the year award. The first the Swede knew about it was when she was congratulated by attacking midfielder Lisa Evans.
"It's a great honour to be nominated but I'm even more pleased that the progress of this team is being recognised," said Signeul. Others on the shortlist include her fellow Swede Pia Sundhage, German Euro 2013 winner Silvia Neid and, somewhat surprisingly, Scot Shelley Kerr who is in her first season at Arsenal.
In what was a red letter day for Signeul, the Scottish sports minister, Shona Robison, had earlier confirmed a £200,000 funding package for 14 of the Scotland players. As revealed in Herald Sport yesterday, the money will enable most of them to cut back on their full-time day jobs and give them more time to train and rest. "This is such a milestone for women's football in Scotland," said Signeul. "It is the Scottish government and Shona Robison saying 'we believe in you, and we want you to achieve your goals'."
The immediate goal is to qualify for the 2015 World Cup in Canada, and although the Scots have made a flying start - winning their first two games and scoring 14 goals - Signeul's native Sweden remain the firm favourites to win Group 4.
"Sweden have been on the top level of women's football since they won the European Championship in 1984," Signeul pointed out. "We're not even there yet but this money gives us the chance to catch up. It's important not just for this campaign but the whole future of women's football in this country."
Scotland are expected to make it three wins out of three, and consolidate their position at the top of the group, against a Northern Irish side just starting their qualifying campaign. Many of the Irish players play for Glentoran or Crusaders, but one exception is Glasgow City central defender Julie Nelson. "I'll be giving my team-mates some insight into the Scottish players," she said.