If Scotland’s defeat to a Netherlands side who made it to the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup and only exited after they came up against eventual winners Spain did not offer any real surprises on Friday, there was nevertheless a weary raising of the eyebrows at just how cheaply Pedro Martinez Losa’s side were undone.

The defending was woeful at times, just as it was against England and against Belgium.

Ahead of Tuesday night’s game at Hampden, it is difficult to see just where Scotland go to try and inspire a result that would give them some kind of encouragement in their group of Nations League A-listers.

To that end it was always going to be a difficult ask for Scotland to compete against teams who are ranked considerably higher. When the draw was first made Caroline Weir was effusive about the opportunity for Scotland to test just exactly what their level is and where they are at making the point, rightly, that if you want to compete at major tournaments then this is the quality that you can expect to come up against.

The problem for Martinez Losa is that it was always going to be a daunting ask with a squad of players fully fit and available.

The loss of Weir after she suffered an ACL injury is impossible to quantify. One colleague described the Real Madrid midfielder as a ‘Rolls Royce’ of a player and it would be difficult to argue; graceful, elegant, composed and genuinely in the elite level bracket, Scotland were always going to suffer without her.

READ MORE: Scotland suffer miserable Nations League defeat to Netherlands

But throw in the absence too of Emma Watson, Sam Kerr and Erin Cuthbert and Scotland simply do not have sufficient depth and quality to compensate for their absence.

It is notable too, that, just on the men’s side, having players performing in top level leagues is massive to the fortunes of the national side. So without a Real Madrid player, a Manchester United player, a Bayern Munich player and a Chelsea player, Scotland were always going to be significantly more vulnerable.

Cuthbert could well be back for Tuesday’s game after missing all three of of the opening Nations League games but it already feels like the campaign has gotten away from Martinez Losa’s side.

As national sides across Europe have started to reap the benefits of the work that has gone into grassroots girls football across the last decade, it is all too apparent that Scotland lag significantly behind. Can there really be an expectation then that they have the means to go and compete at the Euros at World Cups?

The game in Holland drew in a capacity crowd, albeit of just 14,000 in the small Gofferstadion stadium. England packed out the Stadium of Light last month as they hosted Scotland. When The Netherlands arrive in Glasgow to take on Scotland at Hampden on Tuesday night the likelihood is that the attendance will struggle to hit five figures. The optics of that, however it is dressed up, do not look good.

How that is addressed is a question that has to be asked and seriously considered. Free tickets to schools and youth football clubs can only go so far. There has to be a proper strategy to generate more interest in the women’s national game and also to open up development pathways.

The likes of Watson, who at just 17, made the move to Manchester United on the back of a strong season with Rangers, and the performance of 18-year-old Kirsty MacLean against Holland would underline that Scotland are producing players.

But with a top flight league that is essentially split into three with most teams still struggling to offer professional contracts - and those that do are often financially so weak that players cannot afford to take them - then the game runs the risk of being left behind.

If Scotland are serious about making it to major tournaments then it is imperative that the domestic standard is raised in order to facilitate the fortunes of the national side.


Just two months after a FIFA Women’s World Cup which broke attendance records and viewing figures, the same old issues remain at the heart of the women’s game.

Senior members of the Jamaica squad put out a statement last weekend saying they had been forced to take a “drastic stance” in an move to end the “constant mistreatment” from their governing body.

They claimed that they had not been paid for their participation at the tournament although Jamaica have since insisted that the players have been paid.

It is incumbent on the game’s governing body that they ensure players are paid directly for their participation rather than funds going straight to member associations. It is the only way to ensure that players are appropriately compensated for their efforts. 


Lisa Evans hit the 100-cap mark when she came off the bench during the 4-0 defeat to Holland on Friday night, one of the few positives on a fairly forgettable evening.

The midfielder was part of a the first generation of Scottish players to make their mark in a professional context and the first to get the country to major tournaments.

Evans was also outspoken at what she felt was the lack of professionalism within the national team as they struggled to build on the momentum of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Her influence still runs deep within the national side.