SCOTLAND Women’s head coach Shelley Kerr believes her side fully deserve their first appearance at a World Cup.
They secured a place at France 2019 with a 2-1 win over Albania allowing them to top the group ahead of Switzerland, whom the Scots beat last week, after they were held to a goalless draw by Poland.
“It was amazing for our players, a tremendous journey, and from my own personal perspective we thoroughly deserved to go to the World Cup next year,” Kerr told Radio 5 Live.
FULL TIME | Albania 1-2 Scotland.WE'VE DONE IT! WE'RE GOING TO THE WORLD CUP!
“All credit to the players on Thursday night. We were underdogs against Switzerland and got a good result against them.
“We had someone pitchside giving us the information on the phone from the Switzerland game.
“We had said before the game we wouldn’t speak to the players about it but as staff members and coaches we were well over it in terms of the result in the other game.
“We said to the players we want them to focus on getting three points and we will take care of everything else.
“But you always have your mind on the other result. The players on the bench knew, the players that weren’t selected in the stand knew, so the news was filtering through that the other game had finished.
“It was an amazing last five minutes and something I will never experience again.”
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) September 4, 2018
Jane Ross clinched victory with a 68th-minute header after Megi Doci had cancelled out Kim Little’s ninth-minute opener on the stroke of half-time.
The result took the Scots to the top of Group Two above Switzerland, who were held to a goalless draw by Poland, and through to a place at France 2019.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon offered her congratulations, tweeting: “Scotland qualifies for the World Cup!! Massive congratulations to our women’s team as they show us how it’s done. I’m a very proud team patron!”
Scotland went into the game knowing that a draw would secure at least a play-off spot but they ensured they went through automatically by producing a dominant performance.
Little smashed home the opening goal after a Lisa Evans cross was nodded across the area.
Scotland should have added to their lead before the break and paid the price for missing a host of chances when Doci levelled against the run of play.
Further opportunities were spurned before Ross finally pounced following a Caroline Weir free-kick.
Captain Rachel Corsie said: “At the final whistle it was hard to know what to do. It was just an incredibly surreal feeling. We need to enjoy that and we will because we deserve to.
“We always felt comfortable in the game and we created more than enough chances to win it. We knew that second goal was coming and we believed that it would. We persevered and once we got it we controlled the game well.
“This is by far the best moment in my career. The World Cup is the pinnacle of football and to have the opportunity to go over there and be on that stage with the best teams in the world is going to be incredibly special.”