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Rachel Corsie: Shame Scotland Women fans will be barred from first Friday night home game for two-and-a-half years

Hampden "disruption" concerns related to rivals Israel and military operations in Gaza mean Scotland's Euro 2025 qualifier on Friday will be behind closed doors.

Scotland fans at Hampden for the Nations League match against England in 2023. Image: SNS.
Scotland fans at Hampden for the Nations League match against England in 2023. Image: SNS.

It has been a bit of a weird week, where the season is over, but it’s also not – as we have the two Scotland games against Israel coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Some people might already be on the beach sipping margaritas, but I can’t really do that with back-to-back Euro 2025 qualifiers on the horizon!

Aston Villa’s final game of the season was on Saturday, and ended in a 2-1 loss at home to Manchester City – a narrow win which wasn’t enough for City to beat Chelsea to the title.

The game probably epitomised our season against the bigger teams – we minimised goal-chasing City’s chances, and we got ourselves back into the game with a equaliser in the second half, before conceding again soon after.

On a different day, we would have got something out of the match.

Villa-wise, it felt like a little bit of a frustrating season, in that we never really got going or found the kind of momentum we had last term when we finished fifth.

But it’s been a really competitive season in the WSL, and to solidify our place in mid-table and get to a cup semi-final, there are still positives. I think, with a few small tweaks, we can make progress in 2024/25.

On a personal level, reflecting on the club season, I’ve come out of the campaign feeling more positive than I did last year.

Last March, I’d had quite a serious surgery on my knee, so the period heading into last summer was one where the longevity of my career was a bit uncertain. I was working hard to get back to full fitness, but at my age you never know how things are going to play out.

In the season just finished, I was available for every game, played in 21 of our 22 league games, and played in most of the cup games, so it was a success for me – and now I’ve got another year to come. 

With Villa’s season over, and the Scotland squad not getting together until this Sunday, I’ve been following an individual club fitness programme – mainly pre-season-style running – this week to keep myself ticking over.

I was at Villa’s training ground on Sunday and Monday, and then I’ve been up in Edinburgh, where I’ve got a flat, training at the Oriam.

Training alone at this time of year can be pretty difficult psychologically, especially when it’s been pouring with rain!

Shame for Scotland Women fans ahead of Israel match

Since last week’s column, the Scottish FA have announced Friday’s Euro 2025 qualifier with Israel at Hampden will now be played behind closed doors due to the “potential for planned disruptions” related to Israel’s continued military operations in Gaza.

The players haven’t been told much more than the public, that it is for safety reasons.

I wrote last week about my sadness at the whole situation with Israel and Gaza.

But, from a Scotland perspective, it is a shame the fanbase we have been building will miss out on a home game. The primary purpose of football is entertaining them ultimately.

Our home matches are important, not just in terms of securing results, but for building our support.

We’ve only had one home game scheduled on a Friday night – when it is easier to convince fans to come along – across both this Euros qualifying campaign and the previous Nations League campaign. In fact, we’ve not had a home game on a Friday since a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw with Ukraine on November 26, 2021.

Supporters now won’t have the chance to come along to that Friday night game and roar us on, which will also mean we lose one of the main benefits of home advantage.

Being part of BBC team for Euros is really cool opportunity

It was announced this week I will be part of the BBC team for the men’s Euros, which start next month.

I have never been to a men’s major tournament before, so I’m excited and very much looking forward to it.

I’m not going to be part of the coverage for the Germany v Scotland opener, as I’m going to Munich to watch the game as a fan, and a lot of my friends from football have made plans to be in Bavaria for the few days around the first game.

But I’ll be based in Berlin, where the main studio will be, for the majority of my time in Germany, and will definitely be on air for Scotland’s subsequent games against Switzerland and Hungary.

I will probably also be pulled in to do radio and other bits of content around the televised games I’m involved in, while the BBC are encouraging us to see and do as much as possible around the tournament.

It’s a really cool opportunity.

Celtic’s SWPL title win an incredible achievement

The final day of the SWPL season on Sunday was certainly dramatic, with Celtic scoring very late on in their game against Hibs to finish level on points with Rangers and pip their city rivals to the title on goal difference.

It’s an incredible achievement from Celtic, who have not spent what Rangers have or gone after it in the same way.

Winning the title at Celtic Park would have been extra special for the Hoops players as well.

Celtic captain Kelly Clark lifts the SWPL trophy. Image: SNS.

With Rangers’ squad, I would have expected them to be the frontrunners, as they were for most of the season. Their big frustration will be how comfortable they were at an early point in the campaign before dropping points they wouldn’t have expected to drop.