Team Muirhead’s approach to a ‘meaningless’ encounter as they wrapped up the qualifying section of the European Curling Championships has offered their tactical coach every encouragement that they are ready to take on the same opponents in the semi-finals.

That description of the task that confronted the Scottish women’s team was probably slightly inaccurate since there was confidence to be taken from maintaining a 100 per cent record into the knockout stages, while the result also affected who they would face since a defeat would have meant they faced the Czech Republic rather than Russia.

However Glenn Howard was expressing his admiration at the determination the players had shown to continue to dominate proceedings when others might have eased off.

“It was really a meaningless game when it comes to the play-off picture, but we talked about it being a huge momentum game and to me it was the best game they played this week,” he said, following their 8-4 victory.

“I’m really proud of them and their mental fortitude was exceptional. If they put their best game in a meaningless game that tells me a lot about these girls. I love what I see.

“They’re playing better, their shot execution’s getting better, their mental pre is getting better, even just their whole demeanour is better and I have to commend our whole coaching staff they’ve done a great job and the girls themselves. I’m really impressed. The potential’s exponential.”

It has been a performance that has gone a long way towards justifying the decision of the 54-year-old to try to juggle this role with his desire to keep playing, as well as his job managing a beer store.

“I’m working hard with the girls on different styles and they’re sponges,” said Howard.

“They’re listening and I respect them. They’ve got a wealth of experience at a young age and they really understand curling. It’s fun to be involved with a bunch of young girls who really know the game of curling and I’m learning stuff as well.”

This week has also been an eye-opener for the Canadian who is one of the sport’s best known players in his own right as a four time world champion who remarkably won those titles in four different decade – 1987, 1993, 2007 and 2012 - and is still competing at the highest level,in terms of the calibre of the event.

“It’s my first European Championships and the arena’s magnificent, everything about is identical to a Brier (the highly prestigious Canadian national championship) or a World Championship. I had no idea, but it’s really cool to see and I commend everybody who’s organised this. It’s a great event, a perfect segway for all these teams to leap-frog into the World Championships.”

While the one thing that has been unfavourable in terms of comparison has been the size of the crowds Howard expressed the hope that in spite of the departure of the Scottish men, Team Brewster, who just missed out on the knockout stages, Team Muirhead will be rewarded for the way they have performed.

“We do get more crowds (in Canada), but I’m hoping that while it’s too bad that Tommy Brewster has gone out, with Eve making the play-offs you’re going to see a lot more show up,” he said.

“As a competitor you want as many people her cheering you on and all the other countries want fans in here too, even if it’s not their own fans. It’s so much more fun to play with when it’s a great atmosphere. Hopefully they do because this is A1 curling.”

Today’s semi-finals start at 2pm and see Team Muirhead face that re-match with Team Moiseeva, while Sweden’s Team Hasselborg meet the Czech Republic’s Team Kubeskova.