ROSENGARD winger Fiona Brown has more reason than most to celebrate Scotland reaching their first World Cup. Less than four years ago, the 24-year-old was told she had no future in professional football, far less any prospect of appearing on the greatest stage.

Two serious anterior cruciate ligament injuries, both before she turned 21, threatened the career of a young player of huge promise. She played her youth football at Stenhousemuir before moving to Celtic and was already a first-team player when the first ACL injury occurred in 2012.

The second, three years later, was when she was at Glasgow City and although it was the other knee the advice she received was disheartening. Small wonder she is happy to be among Shelley Kerr's squad in Nice ahead of tomorrow night's Group D opener against England.

“The first one I was a bit naive – I was only 16 and was a bit of a baby really,” she said of the ACL experiences. “I probably didn't really know the severity of it at the time.

“I wish it hadn't happened, but to be honest my rehab completely changed me. Obviously I was at that age where my body completely changed, but I was in the gym. I became so much stronger, and knew so much more about my body and the control of my body. I was already playing at senior level with Celtic and it helped me so much.

“I came back probably better than I had been before the injury. I could always technically compete, but now I could compete physically as well. That first one was a learning curve.

“The second one was gutting. I remember being told: ‘You'll never play pro now, you can't train that much any more', and then being a bit angry.

“I had my heart set on playing pro and it's what I wanted to do. I'm stubborn, so I did everything to come back like I had before and make it happen. Of course there's doubts where you think: 'Is this going to happen?', but luckily it did.

“People saying I wouldn’t turn pro probably helped me as extra motivation.”

Brown won several honours in her three years at Glasgow City and it was when playing for them in a last 32 Champions League tie that she caught the eye of opponents Eskilstuna United. She signed for the then Swedish champions in 2017 before making her latest move to Rosengard.

Brown was brought up in Dunblane and although too young to recall the full horror of what happened at the primary school there in 1996, she says Jamie and Andy Murray have done much to restore the town's pride and demonstrate how sport can be a force for good. Both were pupils at the school at the time of the tragedy.

“They have been a huge inspiration,” she said. “Both the boys have brought the positivity back into the town instead of what it was maybe known for, and that’s down to the work they've done and being successful.

“I grew up watching Andy winning Wimbledon - and losing it. I was there at his homecoming and got my picture taken with him.

“Andy, especially, shows how you can get near misses and near misses and then you can go and do it. He's a massive role model not just for people in Dunblane, but Scotland and the whole of the UK.”

Brown, who has managed to amass 37 caps despite her injuries and has scored two Scotland goals, believes the squad has the personnel and experience to enjoy a successful World Cup. The aim is to be the first Scottish side to qualify for the knock-out stages of a major championship.

“We've got a lot of players in high level leagues who have Champions League experience and been in the squad a long time,” she said, and that is reinforced by the high quality of players in the wide positions.

As well as Brown, Arsenal's Lisa Evans, Manchester United's Lizzie Arnot and Orlando Pride's Claire Emslie – she moved from Manchester City last week – are in contention for starting places against England.