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Rachel Corsie: Scotland ready for Ukraine Women's World Cup qualifying test

Women’s World Cup qualifying Group B: Ukraine v Scotland
Venue: Stadion Miejski, Rzeszow Date: Friday, 24 June Kick-off: 19:15 BST
Coverage: Live coverage on BBC Alba & online, with radio and text commentary also across BBC Radio Scotland MW and the BBC Sport app.

The beginning of camp always feels like a whirlwind for me.

It started this time on Sunday night, seeing everyone for the first time again after weeks, if not months. It’s also hectic while everyone readjusts to a slightly new routine.

It goes without saying the schedule changes a lot, with plenty to achieve through the week and with several moving parts. That means, as captain, I feel responsible to ensure nobody ends up missing a newly arranged team meeting or a change in training start time.

Talking about schedules, breakfast comes at 8.30am, which for quite a few is an earlier wake-up call than they have probably been enjoying more recently. However, for the few that are dozier in the mornings – Martha Thomas and Erin Cuthbert, I’m looking at you here – then they are quickly sparked into life with a team meeting and an on-pitch start time at a rather civilised 10.15am.

Having said that, I have found it difficult to relax in the weeks since the end of the season in early May. This game against Ukraine has been in the back of my mind since it was confirmed – and it has been difficult to take much rest knowing the importance of what is at stake.

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Losing any physical advantage is something that can be a constant burden, but of course your body and mind battle with that and the importance of much-needed rest.

I have managed to enjoy some breaks from a more gruelling training regime and doing sets of running with a timer and a few cones out on the grass on my own. However, “holiday mode” still involves getting to play those other sports that I grew up loving and don’t get to do as much of now.

So the weeks of lighter strain have involved some sort of activity where the focus was taking part and not winning – sort of. There were some sore losses on both the golf course and the squash court, but I did win a few games of cards in the sunshine, so it wasn’t all misery.

‘It’s impossible to know how Ukraine will feel’

Scotland's Erin Cuthbert and Jen Beattie
The Scots have been in good spirits as they prepare to face Ukraine

Back to Friday’s challenge – and the team will be ready. A lot of external attention has given focus to the difficult nature of the match given our opponents and what their country and people have had to endure these past months.

The match in Poland will only be a short distance from the Ukrainian border and we expect it to feel like a “proper” away game, with a large number of Ukrainians expected to turn out to rally behind their team.

That will add to the occasion that is a key part of top-level sport, but we have to be professional in our preparations. It’s only something we are going to continue to become more accustomed to as the game grows and stadiums continue to fill.

In reality, it is impossible to truly know how the Ukraine team will feel – and what will bring them motivation for the match itself. We are anticipating a relentless desire and passion to represent the flag on their shirt that might exceed anything in the past.

Without trying to compare or even pretend to understand what some of them will have undergone more recently, we know that, as Scotland, we place so much importance on turning up and doing our own nation proud at every chance we are given. I know that we can match anyone in that area.

We absolutely must take accountability to ensure that is unquestionably the case on Friday night.

It is another game and another privileged opportunity to represent Scotland, with an incredible opportunity to help our World Cup campaign progress in the right direction.

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