A teenager Falkirk footballer is on cloud nine after helping her international teammates to the next stage of European Championship qualification on home soil.
Leah Eddie (15) and her Scotland Under-17 teammates won two of their three matches in the first round of qualification last week ahead of next year’s finals in the Czech Republic.
After thumping Croatia and Kazakhstan 4-0 and 8-0 respectively at Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre in Edinburgh, Leah’s side suffered a 4-0 defeat to France in their final game, but qualification was already secured.
On November 11, the team will discover who they face in the elite round of qualifying, where the top 24 teams are seeded into six groups to compete next spring ahead of the finals in May.
The Graeme High School girl, part of the SSE Next Generation programme. insists confidence is high as they await news of the draw.
She said: “That was the first group stage of the qualifiers, so because we came second in that group, we’ll face harder teams in the elite stages of qualifying, so it is going to be very tricky.
“We only had to win two games to qualify, so we could go out for the third knowing that we had already done what was needed. Even though we did lose, we still played very well as a team against France.”
Leah plays her domestic football for Central Girls Football Academy and her success was made all the more special knowing her family were in the stands.
And that, she admits, was the icing on the cake as she spoke of her pride of donning the international jersey.
“It was absolutely amazing representing my country; just walking out and singing the national anthem was incredible,” she said.
“It was great that the games were all in Scotland because it meant all our families were in the crowd supporting us.
“It was even better knowing my family was watching on. They don’t get to see me play for Scotland that often when we go abroad, so they were very emotional when I saw them.”
SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future. Keep up to date with the latest @SSENextGen