Scotland head coach Pedro Martinez Losa has shown his support to Partick Thistle goalkeeper Ava Easdon after the 17-year-old was at the centre of criticism of the women’s game from Joey Barton.

The former England midfielder, who had a brief and unsuccessful spell in Scottish football with Rangers, highlighted a goal the Light Blues scored against Thistle in Sunday’s Sky Sports Cup final and wrote on X: “I mean let’s just talk about the goalie! How is this nonsense on the box?”

The goalkeeper’s father, seven-time world kickboxing champion Lex Easdon, accused Barton of playing up to his “fan boys” on social media and wrote: “In 2024 and ‘grown’ men feel the need to belittle and bully a 17yr old school kid, who doesn’t get paid to play unlike some men who make the same mistake week after week and get paid hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

As Barton continued to hit back on social media two days after the game, Martinez Losa focused on backing the goalkeeper.

“We have to have a strong opinion on supporting Ava, obviously,” he said. “A young player, who is 17 years old, who is competing excellently this season for her club.

“We are a sport in development and we all have to be aware of that and protect players.

“If we want players like her to develop and play in the national team, we have to create a safe environment where they are going to play and make mistakes. We have to understand that mistakes are a part of the evolution.

“The problem we have now is we accelerating the progress and the evolution so there are other people involved, and we can’t control that.

“I just want to show my support from the head coach position of the national team. I want to show my support to a player who is playing exceptionally. She is very brave to compete in a final.

“She has been put in that position, she is dreaming of being a football player, as are many girls in the country. And, by the way, she is playing very well.”

When asked about Barton’s comments specifically, the Spaniard added: “I can’t control people’s opinion or who says what but I will show my support to Ava.”

The Scotland head coach praised the togetherness of the women’s game after the likes of Scotland and Rangers player Nicola Docherty spoke out in support of Easdon.

Docherty wrote on X: “Couldn’t help but notice the tweets from an older man regarding this great young goalkeeper who is inspiring the next generation. Keep doing what you are doing! If women’s football isn’t for you change the channel, it isn’t hard.”

Martinez Losa said: “The women’s game’s culture is a totally different scenario where we want that togetherness, we want that atmosphere where girls can attend games, families can attend games. That’s the image we want to provide.

“But also internally we have been working so hard to create these safe environments. The only thing we can do is learn from this process and show the support to the player who is involved.”