Scotland action goes on next week, and it is the turn of the women as we continue our quest to secure a second consecutive qualification for the Euros
The squad will once again assemble in a staggered fashion on Monday lunchtime, as preparations will begin for an away match against Portugal on Friday before returning home to play Finland on December 1.
While not strictly mathematically the case, two wins seems likely to be the minimum requirement in the double-header that awaits.
After dropping three points to close rivals, Finland, last month, the scope to drop any more has now diminished.
With all three teams in action over this window looking to try and grab top spot, it is all to play for, with only the group winner guaranteed qualification.
The circumstances are strange for Scotland this time around, as it is the first time this squad has been expected to qualify.
We were drawn out the hat as the pot one seeds for these group matches, something we have never experienced in qualifying for a major tournament before.
This being said, the squad selected was announced last Monday, and it certainly continues to grow in quality and depth. For the first time, manager Shelley Kerr has selected a 27-player squad, allowing for the team to prepare as comprehensively as possible and give ourselves the best chance in both games.
It was not so long ago I can remember when the squad only took 18 players to these games, and the change is a combination of increased resources, alongside an increase in the number of top players Scotland has the pick of.
The team has further been boosted with the news Kim Little returns after her hamstring injury. She will be joined by her Arsenal team-mates, Jen Beattie and Lisa Evans, who also missed last month’s fixtures. All three are some of the more experienced girls in the squad. Most importantly, they understand playing under pressure to win.
Another vital boost for the team is the inclusion of Fiona Brown.
It will be her first appearance with the national team in more than a year. Her last involvement was when she was part of the 2019 World Cup squad.
The winger returns after what was potentially a career-ending injury more than 12 months ago. However, after successfully making the gruelling return to fitness since surgery, she returned to club action in Sweden for FC Rosengard in the summer and has earned her spot.
These moments can be heart-warming and it gives added encouragement to what is a close-knit group to be successful.
With what’s at stake this week, we will take all the added advantages we can get, no matter how insignificant it may seem. These little positives can add up and make a difference to the culture and environment of the week’s preparations.