Ross hits four as Scotland run riot with Macedonia goal feast
Signeul’s women boost their Euro 2017 qualification hopes with emphatic result
DESPITE a freezing afternoon in Paisley, Scotland’s prospects of reaching Euro 2017 in the Netherlands remain as bright as the new pink strip, which was getting its first outing.
A handsome win was always on the cards against a Macedonia side which hasn’t experienced such an outcome for four years, and it was duly provided. It will be a long trudge back to Skopje this morning for the visitors, who got so little purchase on the game that the biggest danger to Scotland goalkeeper Gemma Fay was hypothermia.
Her side did all that was asked of them in difficult conditions, especially down the left where Hayley Lauder, Lisa Evans and Kim Little teased the Macedonia defence almost at will. Striker Jane Ross with four, and midfielder Jo Love with her first Scotland hat-trick, did most of the damage, but they had left-back Lauder to thank for providing most of the ammunition. The win puts the Scots three points ahead of Iceland in Group 1, albeit having played an extra game, and the double figure tally could also prove decisive in Euro 2017 qualifying.
“We’ve got maximum points from our first four games and that’s what we set out to do,” said Glasgow City’s Lauder, who also scored her first international goal for two years.
“Our midfield was brilliant in creating so much space.”
Scotland coach Anna Signeul said: “If we end up with the same points in our head-to-head with Iceland, these 10 goals could prove the difference.
“I’m not just delighted that we scored ten goals – I’m also pleased with the way we played in the wide areas. The quality of the crosses was very good.”
Fay, Little and Leanne Ross all received presentations for passing 100 caps before the game started. It didn’t take long before there was more for the home crowd to celebrate.
Macedonian defender Milka Arsova had already cleared a Caroline Weir effort off the line inside the opening 90 seconds before Jane Ross put the Scots ahead in the third minute. As was to be the case throughout the first half, the supplier was left-back Lauder and her cross was met with a glancing header by the Scotland striker.
The second came five minutes later when Little took a short corner, Lauder crossed and this time Love headed past Macedonian ‘keeper Viktorija Doneva who, like her defence, looked vulnerable to every high ball into the box.
Scotland’s third goal, midway through the half, also came from a header. Doneva had earlier tipped a Ross effort on to the bar, but she was left floundering when Little’s cross was met by Jennifer Beattie.
Two minutes later the home side were four up. This time the provider was Evans, and although Weir couldn’t find the space to shoot she slipped the ball to Lauder, who continued an outstanding performance by shooting home.
The left back returned the favour to Evans after 35 minutes, this time with a low cross, which the Bayern Munich attacker side-footed past Doneva. Love completed a first-half rout with Scotland’s sixth in the 40th minute, converting another Lauder assist at the far post.
Love, another member of the Scotland century club, notched her first international hat-trick seven minutes into the second half, again lurking at the back post to convert an Evans cross.
The Glasgow City midfielder was replaced by Lana Clelland and the substitute was the provider for Scotland’s eighth goal as the rout continued. This time Ross was the beneficiary – and the same pair combined to make it nine.
Doneva’s miserable game continued as she looked to have Ross’s close-range effort covered, but the ball slipped under her body and trickled into the net.
HOTSHOTS: All smiles for Scotland’s Jane Ross and Jo Love after they scored seven goals between them