THERE were many positives to be taken from Scotland’s eight-day trip to Cyprus. Anna Signeul would have accepted two draws against in-form Denmark at the outset, while the benefits should flow from the twice-daily sessions on the training pitches high above Ayia Napa.

That Scotland were the stronger team in the second half of both games says it all for the pre-season conditioning of the players. As Kim Little pointed out after converting her penalty in Paralimni, the players have never been fitter in January.

The flip side is it took them too long to get into gear in both matches and they conceded poor first-half goals. But the overall impression, with the side returning to a 4-4-2 formation, was favourable.

Little, below, back in national colours for the first time since June, was a stand-out in Larnaca. Her return was a huge plus, as was that of her former Seattle Reign team-mate Rachel Corsie. Playing her first 135 minutes since July, and restored to central defence, Corsie looked confident despite a second disruptive injury to her left knee.

The former Glasgow City captain looks the best of the central defenders available to Signeul, who has far better options in that position than she does at full-back. That being the case, the coach might have watched with interest as Denmark set up with a back three in both games.

As was all too evident in Cyprus, right-back, in particular, is a major concern for Scotland – although Kirsty Smith could be fit for the return to the island at the start of March.

It was much better in midfield and attack where Erin Cuthbert and Fiona Brown were among those who impressed. Chelsea’s new signing was an eye-opener in Larnaca, where she came on after half time and scored her first Scotland goal, but not nearly so prominent when starting in Paralimni. At the very least, the teenager could be a highly effective impact sub for the Euros.

Two other attacking players, Lana Clelland and Claire Emslie didn’t get much game time, but Christie Murray made the most of her 45 minutes. The bad news was Gemma Fay’s ligament injury early in the first game. The captain is now likely to miss all four Cyprus Cup matches – but Shannon Lynn grew in confidence against the Danes and made some good saves.

GOOD luck to Andy Gardner and Peter Kennedy, who have been appointed interim managers of Rangers Ladies. Yet the pertinent question is why a permanent manager still hasn’t been identified. It doesn’t reflect well on the parent club.