GEORGIA was on Scotland's mind in March 2010 when the national team played a 2011 World Cup qualifier in Tbilisi. The home side scored first, but goals from Jen Beattie, Rachel Corsie and Leanne Ross ensured it would be a winning start to the decade for Anna Signeul's side.

Scotland didn't make it to the tournament in Germany, finishing a point behind Denmark in the qualifying group. But by 2010 Signeul had been head coach for five years, and it was her drive and determination behind the scenes which paved the way for the transformational 10 years which were to follow.

When Signeul replaced Vera Pauw, some senior staff at the Scottish FA were openly contemptuous and dismissive of women's football. Fortunately the Swede had a staunch ally in the head of girls' and women's football, Sheila Begbie, and progress was made, albeit at a frustratingly slow rate.

Nearly all the successes of the last decade can be traced back to the changes implemented by Signeul. Whether it was persuading the top clubs to train four nights a week, or making the national team players realise they had to live like elite athletes, the Swede introduced professional standards to the sport.

She could have got a tangible reward as early as 2012, but qualification for the following year's European Championship was thwarted in extraordinary circumstances. Scotland led 2-1 on the night, and 3-2 on aggregate, in the play-off against Spain with just seven minutes of extra time remaining. The hosts equalised but needed one more or Scotland would go through on away goals – and they got it in the second minute of time added on.

That night, which was to have an eerie echo in Paris last summer, was the low point of Signeul's 12 years as head coach. The elusive qualification for a major championship duly arrived and she bowed out with a 1-0 win over – who else – Spain in the final group game of Euro 2017.

Signeul was, with justification, latterly criticised for relying overlong on players who had been in her teams almost from the start. Nevertheless, she changed everything for the better in Scottish women's football and the question for the next decade is who is going to drive the sport forward?

The Scottish FA has, ostensibly, now taken full ownership. That being the case, it is disconcerting that their strategic review of women's football has got underway without any public fanfare. That would be inconceivable in men's football.

Nor is there a head of girls' and women's football. The position has been vacant since Donald Gillies left Hampden in August for a job at Colorado Rapids.

That, of course, will save the SFA a salary for the time being. The £400,000 of Fifa money left over from World Cup qualifying will also remain unused in the bank until the strategic review has been completed.

None of this will ultimately matter if the review can come up with workable proposals for moving the game forward at all levels. The primary aim must be to keep qualifying for major tournaments, because from that all manner of rewards follow.

Scottish clubs offering full-time football, as Rangers will do this year, is a massive step in the right direction – provided, and it's a big qualification, that such a set-up is sustainable beyond the short term. There are other proposals regarding the governance of the elite domestic game which the strategic review is already examining, and which will become evident shortly.

What is obvious from the last decade is that Scotland was blessed with what may prove to be an unnaturally fine crop of players. As well as Beattie and Corsie, who scored in the 2010 Georgia game, Shannon Lynn, Emma Mitchell, Joelle Murray, Jo Love, Kim Little and Jane Ross were also in that squad.

They, along with Hayley Lauder and Lisa Evans who made their debuts shortly after, are still available to Shelley Kerr 10 years later – but when they retire will Scotland continue to have the same range of top player? There is already evidence that the Scotland age group sides are not as strong as in recent years.

The key to maintaining qualification for tournaments is to keep producing high quality players. The worry is that youth development will evolve to mirror that in the men's game – an outcome which must be avoided given that it is now 22 years since the other Scotland qualified for anything.