FATE played one of its better tricks on Tuesday when Jo Love and Erin Cuthbert made the draw for the Uefa Women's Under-19 Championship, which is to be held in Scotland for the first time in July.

The event, in Glasgow's east end, was characterised by dull, robotic speeches and did little to inspire. Fortunately Love and Cuthbert, who can be regarded as national footballing treasures, were on hand to provide a contrast as well as place Netherlands, Norway and France alongside Scotland in Group A, with England, Belgium, Spain and Germany in Group B.

At the ages of 33 and 20, the midfielders are the oldest and youngest outfield players in the current Scotland squad. And when Cuthbert was a child, her father, Steve, used to take her to Blair Park in Hurlford where she watched entranced as Love played for Kilmarnock.

“I used to idolise her,” the Chelsea player laughed. “I would be on the pitch at half time doing keepie-uppies. I grew up as part of a generation who knew our football dreams could be realised. I'm lucky because Jo's generation maybe grew up with dreams that weren't visible.”

As astute with her words as she is with a ball, Cuthbert correctly surmises she is being afforded opportunities which were simply unavailable to her friend. Last Sunday she played in a televised FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City (her side lost 1-0) and today she is in Lyon for the first leg of Chelsea's Champions League semi against the holders.

At the same age Love was, like Cuthbert, already an established Scotland internationalist but playing in front of one woman and a dog at Blair Park. When the Cuthberts turned up it doubled the attendance.

Similarly, Love has always had a day job while accumulating her record 191 outfield Scotland caps. The dedication required to keep up this demanding schedule for 17 years is astonishing, yet there is not a trace of envy at the lifestyles now being enjoyed by younger players.

“I wouldn't change anything,” the ever modest Love pointed out. “I'm happy with how my career has been so far, and if it sets up a platform for these younger girls I'm pleased if I've played a part in that legacy.

“I've never been greedy as a player – I've always just wanted to play football.”

LOVE'S latest cap came against Brazil, when she replaced Glasgow City team-mate Leanne Crichton at half-time to help Scotland hold on to their 1-0 lead.

It was interesting, in the context of the U19 Euro draw, to hear Love say that she had never played for that age group. At the age of 16, when with Kilmarnock, she was given a trial for the national team by then head coach Vera Pauw. She came through it with flying colours, made her debut against Canada in 2002, and has been a Scotland regular pretty much ever since.

So, where did the Brazil win rank in such a long and distinguished career?

“It was definitely up there,” she replied, “but for me personally, I believe we can now beat anyone in the world.

“We lost narrowly to America (in November), but we definitely competed, and I think that was the turning point. As much as it was really good to beat a top ten team in Brazil, I'm not surprised.”

CUTHBERT has the chance to go where only one Scottish women's player has gone before if Chelsea can beat five-time winners Lyon over the two semi-final legs and go on to win the Champions League.

Julie Fleeting did it with Arsenal in 2007 (when the tournament was called the Uefa Women's Cup), but it's going to be a big ask for Cuthbert to join her. Lyon whipped closest challengers Paris Saint-Germain 5-0 in the league last weekend, and now look to have yet another French title wrapped up.

I did, however, have to laugh when Chelsea manager Emma Hayes pointed out that Lyon have four times the budget of her team. For any top English club to cite finances as a reason for another side having an advantage is beyond parody.

YET again, Glasgow City pulled it out of the bag when it really mattered on Thursday night. Losing 1-0 to a better Celtic team at half-time, they emerged with a 2-1 win, albeit assisted by young Celtic striker Kathleen McGovern's red card.

Scott Booth and his players remain undefeated in any league game since June, 2016.