Maxine Welsh can’t wait for the opportunity to play on the big stage when the women of steel take on Spartans in the semi-final of the SSE Scottish Women’s Cup.
The 20-year-old has battled back from almost two years on the sidelines through injury, to play an important role in Donald Jennow’s side capturing the SWPL2 title.
On Sunday, ‘Well will aim to continue their success by reaching the final of the Scottish Cup, following in the footsteps of their male counterparts, who contested two national finals last season.
“I’ve spent quite a lot of my time as a senior player injured, so have never played in a cup final at this level,” Welsh said. “Everyone is really looking forward to Sunday, it’s a big occasion and an exciting one to be involved in.
“Most of our more experienced players have played in high profile games and know how to handle the pressure that comes with it.
“We’ve been working hard in training and I think with the mix of youth and experience within the team, we’ll fancy our chances.”
Many of the Motherwell squad have sampled great success in the Scottish game and Sunday’s big game at Forthbank Stadium won’t be a step into the unknown.
Welsh believes the more experienced figures within the team have been vital in providing guidance to the younger players in the build up to what will be for some, the biggest game of the careers so far.
“The more experienced players can also help the younger players deal with the pressure, they’ve done this for years and the information they pass on is invaluable,” she added. “Playing and training alongside such experience and hard workers pushes you.
“I’ve also been putting in extra work in the gym and it seems to have paid off for me.
“We were written off a bit at the start of the season as we had a lot of older players, some of which hadn’t played in a while.
“There’s a great unity within the team as well as determination and motivation to prove the doubters wrong.”
Former Glasgow City youngster Welsh, has had to recover from ACL surgery to restart her career at Motherwell.
She was reunited with Eddie Wolecki Black when the former ‘Well boss brought her to the club in May and she believes she has made good progress following a difficult start to life at the club.
“When Eddie asked me to come in, I hadn’t played in a while and was pretty nervous,” she admitted. “I arrived after not playing for two years, from there I had to build my fitness up and bide my time a bit.
“The girls and the coaches gave me a chance though and I feel like I’ve developed a lot in a short space of time.
“When I got my chance, it wasn’t in my natural position, but I was more than happy to take the role as it’s not for me, it’s for the team.”
By the time Motherwell take to the field on Sunday, it will have been a fortnight since they were last in competitive action.
There has been no let up in training though and Welsh believes Jennow’s dedicated approach to the team will ensure they are well prepared for what is their biggest game of the season.
And the youngster, who has adapted superbly to her role at centre back, hopes the Motherwell fans can get along to back those in claret and amber.
“Donald won’t settle for anything other than what he knows we’re capable of,” Welsh said. “He pushes us in every training session and prepares everything for us to ensure the standards won’t slip.
“He does all his work and we want to repay him for all his efforts.
“We saw a few more fans along at the Hearts game and it’s nice to have people taking an interest and supporting the team.
“It gives you that big game experience and it would mean a lot to have a good support on Sunday.”