Leanne Ross will look to the experienced spine of her side as Glasgow City look to make history by becoming the first Scottish side to make it to the group stages of the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
The reigning SWPL champions face Brann, the current Norwegian title holders, at Petershill Park tomorrow night as they kick off their Round Two Champions League qualifier.
Scotland internationalist Hayley Lauder could give City a timely boost with a return from injury – she was an unused sub for the weekend win over Spartans – with both the midfielder and Jo Love’s presence felt even when they haven’t been playing.
And Ross believes that could be vital as City look to set themselves up with a strong result to take to Norway next week.
“That experience is massive to us,” said Ross. “Hayley [Lauder] and Jo [Love] have been there and done it and even if they are not on the pitch they are fantastic leaders within this squad.
“I have seen it already this week as they have tried to prepare their team-mates for what lies ahead.
“In a game like this, you need experience. You need that calm head so that they can go in and try and dictate the game. We need to be calm and composed to get the performance levels we need.”
Brann are currently fourth in the table after 22 games in the Norwegian league but Ross expects that they will offer a decent test tomorrow night.
“They are a typical Scandinavian team in terms of having that athletic ability,” she said. “They are strong, they have height and they like to possess the ball and play nice, attacking football so we know we will have to defend tomorrow night and be strong in the attack.
“We need that attacking, ruthless edge and that is something we have tried to hammer home to them.”
Ross, meanwhile, is confident that those turning up for the game – and there are still tickets available – will not be disappointed. Ross featured at the quarter-final stage for City prior to the reformatting of the tournament and knows that European football offers a particular level of intrigue.
“It is always exciting to be at home and be in the Champions League – it brings out the crowds,” said Ross.
“Over the years we have had some fantastic performances and results here and we are hopefully that we will get the result that keeps us in the tie for the second leg in Norway.
“The fans always come out in their numbers for the Champions League and I hope that is the case again.
“Getting ourselves to the quarter finals in two occasions has been huge for us in terms of being a standalone club, and I think that’s something that we need to try and emulate tomorrow and getting that result put us in a good position to take us to the group stages.”
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