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Rachel Corsie: Panama and Venezuela friendlies will be a test of Scotland Women’s camaraderie following World Cup disappointment

Scotland captain Rachel Corsie speaks to her team-mates. Image: PA.
Scotland captain Rachel Corsie speaks to her team-mates. Image: PA.

It felt bittersweet to return to a Scotland camp after our World Cup qualifying disappointment last month.

We flew to Spain earlier this week, and we are based near Cadiz ahead of tonight’s friendly against Panama and Monday’s meeting with Venezuela.

There have been constant moments throughout the weeks since the play-off defeat to Republic of Ireland which have reminded me we’re not going to the World Cup.

It was the lowest point of my career. Of course there have been other difficult moments, but we had the belief we were going to get the result.

We had put so much into it. I’m not saying we deserved to win, because this is sport and nobody deserves anything before a ball is kicked – but it felt like such a big letdown.

It’s been a hard few weeks since the Ireland game, but it’s nice to be back together as a squad now everyone’s emotions have settled a bit.

Scotland Women failed to qualify for the World Cup via the play-offs last month. Image: PA.

There are a few different faces in the squad this camp as Erin Clachers, Brogan Hay and Rebecca McAllister look set to win their first caps for Scotland.

The squad is a nice blend of freshness and it’s an opportunity to try different things, but there are also plenty of experienced players returning, too.

Having the young players here has reminded all of us in the squad about what it means to play for the national team.

It has taken me back to when I was first involved with Scotland – back in 2009 – and reminded me of the growth and the journey we’ve been on as a team since then.

A good test for Scotland players old and new

Over the last 18 months, the environment with the national team has been incredibly positive and we have a really good group.

This start of this week away has been a good test for us as a unit off the back of such a challenging time.

It’s been a test for the new players who have come in with some extra nerves, but they have adapted well to their new surroundings.

The circumstances have tested the dynamic, but I feel good about it and I think all of the players will go away having had a good experience once we return to our clubs.

We are a united squad so everyone has made sure that there’s been a good environment for all the players – which is such an important part of what we want to create here.

None of us in the current squad have played Panama or Venezuela before, so it’s difficult to know what to expect – but that could be a good thing.

It has been announced boss Pedro Martinez Losa will field Scotland’s first-ever under-23s team against Panama on Saturday, with only five over-age members of the larger squad able to participate in the match. This means the younger players involved in the camp will all get their chance to shine.

The Venezuela clash on Monday, meanwhile, will see us field a full senior side as normal.

These games are a good opportunity for us to focus on what Scotland can do.

There have been things we’ve been working this week, like creating goal-scoring opportunities, which we needed to improve on.

And, hopefully, the hard work in training will benefit us in the two matches during this camp – and when we return to competitive matches, where the margins are getting smaller every year.

There’s going to be a Euros in 2025 we’re going to do our best to qualify for and the work for that starts now with this camp.

There are going to be other major tournaments that Scotland will go to – if we trust that we can keep moving forward and utilise opportunities like we’ve had during this time together.

SWPL Cup final stage is set

We now know who will contest the SWPL Cup final on December 11 and it is not the two teams I – or other people – would’ve expected.

Hibs have struggled so far in the league, but shocked Glasgow City with a 2-1 win in the semi-final to set up a final clash against Rangers, who beat Spartans 4-0.

City had disappointing results in the cup last season and, from my time at the club, I know they’ll be disappointed again because they’re a team who want to win trophies.

And although Hibs haven’t had a strong start to the season – they’ve lost their direction a bit and are trying to stabilise themselves – the result will be massive for them.

Hibs celebrate after beating Glasgow City 2-1 in the SWPL Cup semi-final. Image: Shutterstock.

They’re a club who have a good history in the cup and have contributed massively to the women’s game over the last decade, so I hope this final will help build them back up.

As for Rangers, the final will be their first in this competition and they’ll want to get their hands on another trophy after their league title win last season.

The club have built a strong framework over the last couple of years and the elite experiences they give their players day in and day out has brought about their success.

The final will be the first-ever Scottish women’s game to be broadcast live on Sky Sports, so I hope it’ll be a close contest which showcases the best of the domestic game.

Brighton respond with nine-goal thriller win in WSL

In last weekend’s WSL fixtures, Brighton responded to the departure of manager Hope Powell with a thrilling 5-4 win over West Ham.

It’s a big statement after their 8-0 defeat to Spurs the previous week.

Brighton are a good club with good players, so will want to compete around the middle of the table.

There are a lot of clubs fighting in and around there at the moment, so beating West Ham was a really important win for the Seagulls.

Arsenal extended their run to winning run to 14 games in WSL as they beat Leicester City 4-0, which was Willie Kirk’s first game in charge of the Foxes.