Nadine Hanssen felt honoured to captain Aberdeen Women for the first time in the Dons’ 3-1 win over Glasgow Women.
Hanssen, who joined Aberdeen in September when partner Kelle Roos signed for the men’s team, skippered Gavin Levey’s side on Sunday with captain Loren Campbell on the bench and vice-captain Francesca Ogilvie injured.
The Dons secured their first SWPL 1 win since January and moved up one place in the table and five points clear of Hamilton Accies in the relegation play-off spot.
Hanssen was delighted to be given the armband, saying: “It was an honour to lead the girls out against Glasgow.
“It was such an amazing experience, especially because we got the win.”
The game against Glasgow Women, Hanssen revealed, felt like going into a “cup final” as Aberdeen looked to move closer to safety and away from relegation.
She added: “The game was pretty much a cup final for us – we needed to get those three points.
“I’m glad we got it over the line, although we did make it difficult because they scored.
“We should have scored four or five goals in the first half, which would have given us the chance to go out and really enjoy ourselves.
“We had to stay focused for most of the second half, which we did – the most important thing is we got the three points.
“It’s good to start after the (league) split with a win and (to) get some confidence. We’ve said this is a clean start for us now.
“We’re not where we want to be yet, so we have to keep our focus and go again next week and take each game at a time.”
Using experience to help Aberdeen
Since joining the Dons, Hanssen has mainly been deployed as a centre-back, but was moved into midfield – which is her preferred position – against Glasgow.
She added: “Midfield is the position I’ve played for the last few years of my career, so it felt good to be back there.
“It’s been a really good experience playing in defence and helping the team from the backline.
“I’ve got all the play in front of me then, so I feel like I can contribute in different aspects and show my leadership.”
Aberdeen was Hanssen’s first club since returning to football after giving birth to her son Romeo in December 2021, and she feels she has adapted well to the Scottish game having previously played in England, Belgium and her homeland the Netherlands.
She said: “It’s been more different than I imagined, but it’s going well.
“I’m really glad as I’m starting to feel fitter and stronger, so I feel like I can benefit the team more. I’m just really enjoying it on a personal level.”
This season, the Dons have sometimes had to name a starting XI with an average age of just 18 or 19, so Hanssen believes her wealth of experience has been a good addition.
She said: “It’s important in every team to have a good mix of young talent and more experience. We’ve definitely got a good mix here.
“They’re a really good bunch of girls here, it feels good to help them.”