My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
Scotland moved clear at the top of Group 1 as they thrashed Macedonia 10-0 at a wintry Paisley 2021 stadium. The only goal Scotland had conceded during the campaign was away to Macedonia, but it took three minutes for Scotland to take the lead through Jane Ross’ header, and from them on, there was no doubt what the result would be.
Scotland were 6-0 up at half-time, thanks to precise attacking play and suspect goalkeeping from Macedonia’s Viktorija Doneva. Their second goal came from a short corner routine which provided Jo Love with a simple tap-in. Kim Little’s ball set up Jennifer Beattie to head Scotland’s third before Hayley Lauder made it 4-0. Lisa Evans then stabbed home the fifth goal, before Love’s volley meant the half-time score was 6-0.
Glasgow City’s Love completed her hat-trick just minutes into the second half before Jane Ross scored twice in two minutes to complete her own hat-trick.
And just minutes before the full-time whistle, the new Manchester City signing volleyed in her fourth and Scotland’s tenth.
Scotland had to play the final ten minutes with ten players due to an injury to defender Ifeoma Dieke and they will face far tougher tests in their next two home matches against Slovenia and Iceland.
Manager Anna Signeul will be delighted not only by the scoreline but the way they controlled and dictated possession and kept up their concentration. They never panicked on the ball, and if a move broke down, they were happy to recycle possession back to their central defenders and begin again.
Macedonia’s game-plan seemed to be to defend in numbers and deep, and this allowed Scotland’s full-backs Frankie Brown and Hayley Lauder to deploy as wingers. And Scotland’s incisive passing opened up the Macedonian defence almost immediately with Caroline Weir’s shot hitting the post and Jane Ross shooting over.
Scotland opened the scoring with a method that would become familiar – put balls into the box to test their keeper. Hayley Lauder crossed, and with the keeper nowhere, Jane Ross was left with the simplest of headers.
Minutes later, Scotland doubled their advantage. They worked a corner short to Lauder, and her cross to the far post gave her Glasgow City team-mate Jo Love a tap-in from two yards.
There was nearly a major moment of controversy when Kim Little’s free-kick found Rachel Corsie but the assistant referee raised her flag. The Macedonian defence stopped, but then the flag went down as play continued and Corsie nearly scored.
Macedonia had a rare shot in the 15th minute, but more out of frustration as Gentjana Rochi, who had scored against Scotland in Skopje, tried to test the Scottish keeper and captain Gemma Fay from 35 yards, but it proved to be a regulation save.
Either a superb save or a huge slice of good fortune stopped Scotland from scoring as Jane Ross headed Little’s cross goalwards, and the ball seemed to slip through Doneva’s hands but took a large enough deflection to hit the crossbar.
And then it was 3-0, with once again Scotland working a corner short. This time is was Little who crossed the ball into the box, finding Jennifer Beattie whose header gave Doneva no chance.
Three minutes later, Scotland scored their fourth as Lisa Evans broke to the byline and cut the ball back across the box, Macedonia failed to clear and the ball fell to Lauder who fired the ball through a sea of defenders and into the back of the net.
As the snow started to fall, Scotland kept on coming with Jane Ross and Lauder coming close. And they soon got goal number five as Lauder’s through ball sent Evans behind the defence, and she cleverly placed the ball past the onrushing keeper.
Macedonia tried to get an immediate goal back from the kick-off as Natasha Andonova shot from the half-way line, but it never had any hope of troubling Fay. And when they managed to launch a dangerous looking move, Jana Chubrinovska was denied by Dieke’s outstanding sliding tackle.
Minutes after having her shot bounce off the goal-line and clear, Love scored her second minutes later. Lauder’s cross picked out Love at the far post, and she managed to volley the ball into the ground and over the line.
It would take just eight minutes of the second half for Scotland to score goal number seven as Evans cut the ball back from the byline, taking the keeper out of play to leave Love with a tap-in to secure her hat-trick.
Soon it was 8-0. Lana Clelland’s clever through-ball picked out Jane Ross’ run – her first touch took it past Doneva, her second rolled the ball into the net.
Scotland’s ninth goal came through the same combination. Evans’ long through-ball sent Clelland to the byline, she cut the ball back to Jane Ross who tapped in to secure her hat-trick.
Then Macedonia had their best chance. Leanne Crichton was caught in possession, Rochi broke to the edge of the box, but as she shot, she slipped and her effort went wide.
As the clock ticked towards full-time, Scotland never stopped trying to score. Beattie hit the post, Chrichton shot wide and Clelland nearly lobbed the keeper.
In the 87th minute, Scotland got their reward as they scored their tenth. From just inside the Macedonian half, Little played a ball into the box for Jane Ross, and despite Doneva getting a hand to the ball, it squirmed over the line.
Scotland: (4-2-3-1) Gemma Fay, Frankie Brown (Kirsty Smith 70), Ifeoma Dieke, Jennifer Beattie, Hayley Lauder, Rachel Corsie, Caroline Weir (Leanne Crichton 56), Lisa Evans, Kim Little, Jo Love (Lana Clelland 56), Jane Ross.
Subs not Used: Shannon Lynn (GK), Chloe Arthur, Leanne Ross, Lizzie Arnot.
Goals: Jane Ross 3, 59, 61, 87; Love 8, 40, 53; Beattie 24; Lauder 27; Evans 35.
Macedonia: (5-3-2) Viktorija Doneva, Natalia Naumoff (Aleksandra Ristovska 60), Maja Angjelovska (Alexandra Markovska 81), Sijche Andonova, Milka Arsova, Shkjipe Bojku, Eli Jakovska (Katerina Mileska HT), Lence Andreevska, Jana Chubrinovska, Gentjana Rochi, Natasha Andonova.
Subs not Used: Froska Kostova (GK), Dragana Kostova, Dushanka Pejkova, Afrodita Saliihi.
The Editor of Tartan Kicks, the magazine dedicated to Scottish Women's Football