Scotland Women’s interim manager Stuart McLaren says it’s “essential” to finish their disappointing European Championship qualifying campaign with a win over Portugal.
The SWNT found their hopes of following up their trip to the 2019 World Cup with another major tournament qualification extinguished with two games left to play.
As a result, Shelley Kerr departed, with McLaren taking the reins for dead-rubber qualifiers against Cyprus and Portugal.
However, the temporary boss has been impressed with the players’ desire to treat the matches, both being played in Larnaca, as the first step towards new successes.
On Friday, the Scots were ran rampant in defeating Cyprus 10-0.
Speaking to Scottish FA website, McLaren said: “It’s essential we do that (finish qualifying with victory).
“At international football all the players are technically, tactically and physically prepared, so the biggest difference you can make is in your mentality.
“It goes without saying you’ll always do better at something when you’re enjoying it.
“It’s a credit to the players that they realise the two games out in Cyprus have represented the start of the next stage, and they’re determined to kick on from the win on Friday, and ensure we end the campaign on a high.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) February 21, 2021
“We’ve enjoyed this week and, while it is a little unconventional to be playing our home match in Cyprus, it has been smooth for us as it’s allowed us to be settled out in Larnaca, and we’ve prepared well.”
The Dark Blues were supposed to be the home side for Tuesday’s match, but travel restrictions meant it was decided the sides would meet on neutral ground.
Portugal upset Kerr’s Scots 1-0 in Lisbon last year.
McLaren thinks Scotland, full of confidence after converting so many chances against the Cypriots, will be trying to reproduce Friday’s dominant attacking display.
He said: “We were able to pick a team which were capable of beating Cyprus and they made that an almost certainty by half-time, scoring five unanswered goals.
“That allowed us to give some other players a chance to come in and play, showing their capabilities to impress and play for their country.
“A result like that helps massively and gives the players a bit more confidence in front of goal.
“There’s been previous games where we’ve made a lot of chances, but not converted.
“In that match the conversion rate was high, which was pleasing.
“It shows that the players are buying into the way we’re working as it has brought success. Hopefully we can replicate that against Portugal.”