Claire Emslie: Scotland cap on Melbourne City success & adapting at home

Scotland forward Claire Emslie, second left, thrived on loan at Melbourne City
Scotland forward Claire Emslie, second left, thrived on loan at Melbourne City

Scotland's Claire Emslie savoured a career high with Melbourne City - then couldn't wait to leave.

Now safely back home in the UK, she'll be using her dog Bonnie as a makeshift goalkeeper to keep sharp during lockdown.

The forward signed off from her loan spell last Saturday by helping City complete the Australian double with victory in the W-League grand final.

But there was no wild partying for the 26-year-old, whose priority was a quick getaway amid fears coronavirus restrictions would prevent her leaving the country.

"I was drug tested straight after the game so I missed a lot of the celebrations, which was unfortunate," Emslie told the Scottish FA.

"I then went straight from the game to the airport. I had to rush about various airports but now I'm back, I can properly relax and reflect.

"There was a lot of uncertainty in the build-up to the final about whether we'd be able to get home as the situation is obviously worsening across the world.

"The coronavirus hadn't really hit Australia until recently but the situation began to change rapidly and we had to play the final behind closed doors. I feel incredibly grateful to have got home OK."

Orlando Pride attacker Emslie rates her five-month stint down under, crowned by the 1-0 Grand Final win over Sydney FC, as one of the most enjoyable spells of her career.

And with no football to look forward to - the start of the National Women's Soccer League and Scotland's Euro qualifier against Portugal, which was to be played next month, have been postponed - she'll be roping in the family pet as a practice partner.

"Melbourne is a great club with amazing people, in a lovely city. I don't think I've enjoyed football as much in a while and I'm so grateful for the experience," she said.

"For the next wee while I'll just be resting, to recover from the season and get over the jet leg. Bonnie lives with myself and my boyfriend in Manchester and is just a puppy.

"I'll definitely be training her to lie down in the middle of the goals and stop the ball so I can take shots and get some practice in."

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