Women’s World Cup: Scotland forward Lana Clelland wants more integration

Lana Clelland plays her club football with Fiorentina in Italy
Lana Clelland plays her club football with Fiorentina in Italy
Women's World Cup: Japan v Scotland
Venue: Roazhon Park, Rennes Date: Friday, 14 June Kick-off: 14:00 BST
Coverage: Watch on BBC One & BBC Alba, listen on BBC Radio Scotland, text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app.

More integration between men's and women's club teams could "massively" help develop women's football in Scotland, says Lana Clelland.

The Scotland striker, 26, plays for Fiorentina - the first established Italian side to take on a professionally affiliated women's team.

There are no full-time teams in the Scottish Women's Premier League.

"Our team is very much connected with the men's," Clelland told BBC Scotland. "We're with them a lot of the time."

Celtic have plans to form a professional women's team later this year, while Hearts, who play in the second tier, intend to "invest significantly".

"The only way the game can continue to grow is if you can get the fans from the men's sides over," said Clelland, who has also played for Rangers, Spartans, Bari's Pink Sport Time and UPC Tavagnacco.

"In Italy, it's different. Juventus, Milan, Fiorentina - they support the teams whether it's the youth team, women's team or the men's team. So if the bigger clubs in Scotland can help with that, that would be great."

Earlier this season, Clelland played in front of 39,000 fans at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, with Serie A winners Juventus winning 1-0. Admission was free, with a reported away contingent of 121.

The previous best crowd for a women's game in Italy was 14,000, with Clelland describing the experience as "an incredible feeling".

"We always walk out on to the pitch before we do our warm-up and there were already people in the stadium," she said.

"From there it was a realisation this was going to be a massive occasion. Even the warm-up was crazy, it was just noise. In that stadium it was just another level."

Clelland, who was an unused substitute in Sunday's Women's World Cup defeat by England, is one of 16 players in the national squad based outside her home country.

"When I was in Scotland I had a full-time job and I had to work my training regime around that," she explained.

"I had to go to the gym at five in the morning to going to work and maybe not getting home until 10 or 11 at night, and then having to start all over again.

"In Italy it's professional and being able to relax and recover before and after training is massive."

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