CHRISTY Grimshaw and Lana Clelland are rivals in Serie A, but could find themselves in the same Scotland team against Northern Ireland tomorrow night or Wales on Tuesday.

Grimshaw, who plays for AC Milan, has been way off the international radar for most of her career, but received a first international call up for the friendly double-header in Belfast and Llanelli. Clelland has not played for her country since coming on as a substitute against Japan in the 2019 World Cup and scoring the only goal in a 2-1 defeat.

“We're one apiece from this season,” Clelland, who plays for Fiorentina, said. The striker's side lost 1-0 at home to Milan in December, but won the away game 3-1.

“She's good,” Clelland said of her new Scotland team-mate. “She's happy to get on the ball and run at players.”

Grimshaw is one of four non-capped players selected by interim head coach Stuart McLaren for the double-header. And while the other three – Brianna Westrup (Rangers), Leah Eddie (Hibernian) and Eartha Cummings (Charlton) – are known quantities, the Milan attacking midfielder, who can also play on the wing, is not.

Born in Kirkaldy, but brought up in Stonehaven, she made her debut for Aberdeen at the age of 17 but then moved to university in Miami. She stayed there for five years before joining French club Metz in 2019, and hasn't previously represented Scotland at any level.

The move to Milan last summer, after Metz were relegated to France's second division, was a major step up. The club only started competing in Serie A in 2018 after buying out Brescia's licence, but under head coach Maurizio Ganz have attracted some big names and finished runners-up to Juventus in the season which has just finished.

That will mean Champions League football for Grimshaw and Milan next season – replacing Clelland's Fiorentina, who were beaten by Manchester City in the last 16 of the 2020-21 tournament. Milan also had the chance to win their first ever trophy at the end of last month, but when the sides couldn't be separated after extra time in the Coppa Italia final, Roma won 3-1 on penalties.

This exalted world is far removed from Grimshaw's Miami days when she took part-time work as a waitress in Stonehaven during holidays. She now plays for one of the best clubs in Europe, with team-mates such as the Spaniard Vero Boquete, whose goal in the last seconds of extra time deprived Scotland of a place in Euro 2013.

“She's a quality player and a good friend,” Grimshaw said, “But she didn't tell me that!”.

Both were among the three from Milan who missed shoot-out penalties against Roma at the end of the cup final, but there was a massive consolation the next day when Grimshaw learned she was in the squad for the upcoming friendlies. She'd had a hint of it before the final when McLaren called her for an initial chat, but it was no more than that.

“It was a really proud moment for me. When I found out I was selected I couldn't stop smiling,” Grimshaw said. “Representing your country is what every footballer works towards.

“Football feels like different chapters, and for me this is the one which will mean the most to me if it all goes to plan – as it hopefully will.”

Clelland, meanwhile, makes a long-awaited return. An ACL rupture – she may unwittingly have even been carrying the injury when she came on against Japan in Rennes – followed by a long rehabilitation and tight Covid restrictions in Italy caused the two year hiatus.