Caley Thistle Women manager Karen Mason has urged her side to embrace the occasion when they host Rangers in the third round of the Scottish Cup.
The Highlanders – who play two divisions below Rangers in the SWF Championship – welcome the current SWPL leaders to the Caledonian Stadium on Sunday.
Mason knows her side will go into the match as underdogs, with the visitors yet to lose a top-flight game this season, but it is an occasion she wants her players to enjoy.
Mason said: “It has been about taking it in our stride and trying to prepare as best we can, but we know it is going to be a bit of a David versus Goliath task.
“We have just got to go out there and do the best that we can. Ultimately, the aim of the game is about going out and enjoying the experience.
“There is no pressure or expectation on us to be progressing to the next round.
“We just have to see how we get on. We know we probably won’t see very much of the ball, but we have to be organised and make life difficult for Rangers as much as we can.
“You see in their league (the SWPL) they can put loads of goals past teams and that can be daunting, but we will give it our all.
“The one thing we have in this squad is togetherness and we will need that in abundance.
“Everyone is willing to work for each other. There will be no hiding away because you simply can’t afford to do that against a quality opponent like Rangers.”
Biggest game in Caley Thistle Women’s history
The former SWPL champions are not an unfamiliar opponent to Mason, having faced Rangers in the top-flight back in the Inverness City days.
Inverness City adopted the Caley Thistle name in 2019 when the women’s team became a part of the Highland club.
Mason added: “It will be the first time in a number of years since we played Rangers and their women’s team has grown massively since then.
“There is a massive gulf in the league, the facilities and the budget that they have got in comparison.
“We haven’t come across one of the best teams in the country in a long time – and I don’t think I can remember another game which has given us a feeling like this since we became Caley Thistle.”
There is a familiar face in the Rangers ranks as former Inverness City player Rachel McLauchlan, who is from the Black Isle, returns to the Highlands.
Mason said: “Rachel is one of our former players and her coming back up to Inverness with Rangers shows how far you can go in the women’s game these days.
“It is really nice to see her doing so well.
“There are a lot of familiar faces in their squad that we are used to watching and we will have to be aware of them. It is definitely a team we’re familiar with – but, maybe, not so much playing against.”
Caley Thistle v Rangers kicks off at 1pm at the Caledonian Stadium where entry to the match is a donation.