SCOTLAND will learn who their World Cup play-off opponents are on Friday. Nine European nations will be involved, but with everything still to play for in most of the groups, only Scotland and the Republic of Ireland are guaranteed to be in the draw.

With so much depending on Tuesday’s final round of qualifiers it’s pointless to speculate on who Scotland might face. The best three group runners-ups will have the advantage of not entering the play-offs until the second round, and as things stand Pedro Martinez Losa’s side won’t be one of them.

The Spaniard got the tough test he was looking for ahead of the play-offs when Scotland lost 2-1 to the Netherlands in Zwolle on Friday night. Although the winning goal didn’t arrive until two minutes from the end, it was an outcome which the Dutch fully deserved – indifferent finishing and good goalkeeping from Lee Gibson prevented a more emphatic scoreline.

Martinez Losa sprang a surprise when Kelly Clark, who had previously played only five minutes of senior international football, was selected out of position at right-back. It looked to be a major gamble, but paid off in an unexpected manner when the Celtic captain delivered a perfectly weighted curling ball forward, enabling Claire Emslie to cancel out Vivianne Miedema’s early goal for the Netherlands. It was the prolific Arsenal striker’s 95th for her country in 114 games.

“It was a great ball by Kelly,” Emslie said. “The curl on the ball got it right in behind the defence. It was a pretty easy finish, to be fair. I was so close I just hit it in the corner.”

Scotland will complete their qualifying campaign in the Faroe Islands on Tuesday evening. The hosts have lost all of their seven games, so the match will be an opportunity to give more players game time, including Emma Mitchell and Fiona Brown, who returned successfully from long absences in the second half on Friday.

AS some will be aware, Lauren Rabbitte has launched a crowd funder with a view to taking an unnamed Scottish club to an employment tribunal.

There are legal reasons, apparently, for Rabbitte being unable to mention the club, but she was with Clyde from September 2021 until March this year.

Rabbitte, who is a former player, describes herself as an experienced coach and football academy manager. In her crowd funder she states: “Last year I was proactively approached to work for a Scottish football club.

“I was offered a full-time salaried position to be the Head of Women’s and Girls’ Football and I accepted. I was responsible for the operation of the women’s team and the development of girls’ football.

“When I joined the club, I was concerned about the lack of support that the women’s team received. I worked tirelessly to try to improve the conditions for the squad. When my concerns were not fully addressed, I raised these with Scottish Women’s Football.

“Once I did this I was asked not to speak on the club’s behalf, not to engage with the players, and I was then referred to as a volunteer. I was treated unfairly.

“I worked nearly 600 hours and I have not been paid to date.”

Clyde Ladies came under the wing of the Clyde FC Community Foundation in 2019, but folded in March when David Goodwillie returned to the club.

They were one of three Championship South sides to withdraw from that league last season, and while the return of Goodwillie, a man found guilty of rape in a civil court, was cited as the reason for the players walking away, it is understood the team’s problems preceded his arrival.

Whether Rabbitte was employed by the club or the foundation is something that will presumably be established if the case does go to a tribunal.

She has been instructed by her solicitor not to speak to the media, but at the time of writing had received £1,030 towards the £2,500 she needs to fund the case.

Prior to joining Clyde, Rabbitte was academy development manager at Spartans.

A DECISION is expected soon as to whether Rangers will play their Champions League home tie against Benfica this month at Ibrox or Broadwood.

It’s an attractive game for the SWPL leaders, and one which gives them a chance of reaching the group stage, so Ibrox would seem to be the logical choice.

Portuguese champions Benfica reached the group stage themselves last season. They were only formed in December 2017, but recently have been the dominant club in what appears to be a league with very little competitive depth.