Scotland Women: Lizzie Arnot & Lana Clelland return from injury

Shelley Kerr
Scotland head coach Shelley Kerr says competition for places is making it tough to name a squad but is good for the future of the women's game

Scotland Women welcome back striker Lana Clelland and midfieder Lizzie Arnot for next month's World Cup qualifying double-header.

The Scots take on Belarus on 7 June in Falkirk before travelling to face Poland five days later.

Arnot, who was out for a year with a cruciate ligament injury, scored five as Hibs lifted the SWPL Cup on Sunday.

Italy-based Clelland has not featured for Scotland this year but is fit again after heel surgery in March.

"It's been really, really tough to pick," head coach Shelley Kerr told BBC Scotland on announcing her squad.

"It's really competitive but that's been part of our strategy."

Lizzie Arnot
Thirteen-time capped Arnot was out for a year after picking up an ACL injury in the build up to Euro 2017

Arnot had to sit out last year's European Championship and has only recently returned to action but showed little sign of rust when hitting the target five times against Celtic on Sunday to ensure Hibs retained the SWPL Cup for the third straight year.

"A huge talent," said Kerr of the 22-year-old. "A young player coming through the youth national teams who is really exciting and her attitude it's absolutely first class.

"She's one that I'm really excited about as she's a real hot prospect in terms of what she can bring to the national team."

The Scots opened their France 2019 campaign with a 2-1 victory in Belarus, and, despite the 31 place advantage in the rankings, Kerr says they will not take anything for granted.

"There's never an easy game in international football because the teams are so well organised, they are structured and make it difficult for you," she said.

"We narrowly won 2-1 but we created around about 20 chances so it's not so much creating more chances but executing them and putting the ball in the back of the net."

Women's World Cup qualifying table

Scotland sit second in the group behind Switzerland, the only team to have defeated them in their four games and the side who are the biggest threat to automatic qualification.

"Double headers are always tough but we've an opportunity playing first at home to Belarus to try and bridge the gap with Switzerland and put a bit of pressure on them," added Kerr.

Poland were beaten 3-0 in Paisley in April, with all of the goals coming in the final 11 minutes, and Kerr says her team must match the physicality of tough opponents "first and foremost before playing football".

At the halfway stage of the qualifying campaign, Kerr said that her "work in progress" side have steadily improved during her nine months in charge.

"Consistency, competition, openness and being receptive to learning," she outlined.

Shelley Kerr and Rachel Corsie
Kerr (left) praised captain Rachel Corsie (right) for being a "role model on and off the pitch"

"It's very much an education - that's what we want to do every time players meet as well as getting results."

Captain Rachel Corsie is likely to reach 100 caps in Poland, with Kerr describing the defender as a "real ambassador for the women's game".

"She conducts herself in the right manner, a brilliant team-mate and a great link between myself and the players," she added.

"We've a really open relationship, long gone are the days as a manager where you dictate everything."

Scotland squad

Goalkeepers: Lee Alexander (Glasgow City), Jenna Fife (Hibernian), Shannon Lynn (Vittsjo GIK)

Defenders: Chloe Arthur (Bristol City), Jen Beattie (Manchester City), Frankie Brown (Bristol City), Rachel Corsie (Utah Royals), Sophie Howard (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim), Emma Mitchell (Arsenal), Kirsty Smith (Hibernian)

Midfielders: Lizzie Arnot (Hibernian), Leanne Crichton (Glasgow City), Hayley Lauder (Glasgow City), Kim Little (Arsenal), Jo Love (Glasgow City), Christie Murray (Glasgow City), Caroline Weir (Liverpool)

Forwards: Fiona Brown (FC Rosengard), Lana Clelland (UPC Tavagnacco), Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea), Claire Emslie (Manchester City), Lisa Evans (Arsenal), Jane Ross (Manchester City)

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