Nicola steps up to help Scotland's Euro cause

A FALKIRK footballer has capped an excellent domestic year by playing a starring role for her country.

Nicola Docherty of Redding played in every game of Scotland under-17s' first round of qualifying matches for the UEFA Women's European Championships in Belarus last week.

The former Graeme High pupil has already represented her country at U15 level, but this was the first time the 16-year-old had been selected

for the older age group.

"It was a great feeling when I heard the news," Nicola, pictured right, told Heraldsport.

"It was something I had been hoping to achieve for a while and my mum and dad were over the moon."

The young Scots' successful week saw a 5-0 victory over Israel and a 1-0 win against the hosts. That was followed by a 2-0 defeat to Switzerland in Minsk, but the results still leave them in contention to qualify for the next phase.

"It was a big step up," explained Nicola.

"Physically, it was harder as there was a lot more running and the passing tempo was also much quicker, but we were all delighted with our performance.

She went on: "The whole thing was an amazing experience. The hotel and stadiums were brilliant, but just walking out onto the pitch to represent your country and singing the national anthem was fantastic."

Already, Nicola has made great strides this season and is now established in the Falkirk Ladies senior side. Now her next target is to progress to the Scottish Ladies A squad.

She added: "I want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me, particularly SFA coach Alison Mackie and David Wilson of Falkirk Ladies."

Falkirk LFC has teams at under-13, 15, 17 and senior level. Visit www.falkirkladiesfc.com to find out more information on the club.