Gemma Fay, the Scotland captain, has called on the Scottish Football Association to give professional contracts to members of the women's national squad.

Speaking after her side were denied a place in the European Championship next summer by a 122nd-minute goal in Madrid, Fay said the Scots would fall further and further off the pace if the SFA did not follow the lead of the Football Association in England.

As things stand, most of the squad have full-time jobs yet still train seven or eight times a week before and after work. Fay, who won her 150th cap against Spain on Wednesday night, said: "It's time for somebody to step up and show they actually believe in us.

"If the SFA want us to continue to compete at this level they need to fund us. Our ranking in Europe and the world is ridiculously high for an amateur side. We're ahead of teams of full-time professionals.

"All of that Spanish team are professionals and we played them off the park at times. There's only so long you can continue to do that. A level playing field would be nice.

"When we played France, who topped our group, they practically had the entire Olympique Lyonnais team [and] their annual budget is £2.5m. We've got a postie, a lab worker, an accountant and some students.

"That isn't fair. I know life is not fair, but we need the SFA to believe in us a bit more and allow us to be the best we can be. If they do, we will give them blood, sweat and tears in return."

The mood in the Scottish camp was still morose as they flew back to Edinburgh yesterday. They were ahead three times over the two legs at Hampden and Las Rosas, but each time Spain pegged them back. Then, after Fay had saved a penalty from Veroncia Boquete in the 118th minute, the same player fired in a last-gasp shot which deflected off the foot of Scotland defender Rachel Small. It was the only time Spain had the lead.

The margin between failing and succeeding could not have been more pronounced, and Fay, who also saved a penalty in the first leg at Hampden, revealed that the German referee Bibana Steinhaus believed Scotland had qualified when she blew the final whistle immediately after Boquete's goal.

"She couldn't understand why we weren't celebrating – she thought we'd gone through on away goals," said the Celtic goalkeeper.

It was an unbelievable misunderstanding by the official, who might not have extended the match for so long when there was no obvious reason for the two added on minutes, had she been aware of the true position.

Scotland were also undermined by the Swiss referee refusing to award a stonewall penalty late in the game at Hampden, but Fay refused to blame the officals.

The 30-year-old goalkeeper will now consider whether it is possible to continue playing for Scotland while holding down a job as a partnership manager with sportscotland.

"At the moment we're all still devastated," she said. "I didn't get much sleep. I was playing the match over in my head and thinking about things we might have done differently.

"It's a real sickener. Football is a game which can give you the best feelings but it can also be the cruellest.

"To go from potential ecstasy to devastation in one second is something I never want to experience again. I said after we lost the Euro play-off on away goals to Russia four years ago that there couldn't be a worse feeling. I have to scrap that now, because this is on a different scale."

"To be honest, I can't even remember the penalty save. But when that happens, and you're deep into the second half of extra time, you think you've done enough. You couldn't have written that script.

"Everyone had visualised being in Sweden. We're all in shock because not one of us believed we weren't going to be there. When you truly believe in something and it doesn't happen it's difficult."

Rachel Corsie, the Glasgow City captain who was stretchered off in the second half, will have a scan on a knee today to assess the damage.