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Claire Emslie: Defining moments

FLYING WINGER: The City and Scotland midfielder reflects on the defining moments of her career…

FLYING WINGER: The City and Scotland midfielder reflects on the defining moments of her career…

City and Scotland winger Claire Emslie recalls the moments that shaped her footballing career…

1 First footballing memory

My big brother got me into football. He’s a year-and-a-half older than me. When he had a football, I’d join in.

When I was seven, I got a Celtic top with Henrik Larsson on the back. My family are Celtic fans. I put it on and I remember running about in the garden, playing football and pretending to be him!

2 First match

My first game was for a girls’ team called Hutchie Vale in Edinburgh.

We were playing against a boys’ team. I was really nervous and I remember the boys thinking they were going to beat us but we ended up beating them 3-2 and I scored a goal!

I got involved with Hutchie Vale because my brother’s coach saw me playing at the side of the pitch at his training sessions. He suggested I join that team.

3 First senior contract

I moved from youth football to Hibernian Ladies when I was 16. I signed for their first team but it wasn’t considered professional.

The current Bristol manager Willie Kirk sat us down in a meeting and he gave us the choice to come up and play for the Ladies or stay with the Under-17s. I said I wanted to move up and he said: ‘Brilliant!’

I signed my first professional contract with Bristol in June 2016.

4 First senior goal

I was 16 years old and we were playing in a big Scottish Cup semi-final against Glasgow City.

I started the game, although I didn’t expect to. We hadn’t beaten them for years but I scored the winning goal into the top corner to make it 2-1! That was probably my best memory of Hibs goals.

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5 Move to Florida

I moved to Florida when I was 18. That was through University and a soccer scholarship.

It was a huge risk, especially because I was involved in the Scotland national team. The majority of the national team coaches didn’t think it was a good decision to move there so it was a big decision for me to go, not knowing what the standard was like or the type of coaching I’d get there.

I knew if I went and worked hard and made myself better each day that it would pay off and fortunately, it has. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. I loved it and I had a great time there.

6 Scotland recall

I had been away for four years in Florida and I hadn’t been in contention for the national squad. I missed out on a lot. I might have played if I did stay in Scotland but when I graduated and moved back to the UK and signed for Bristol, I still didn’t get in until the coaches changed.

When the new coach Shelley Kerr took over, she gave me the opportunity and I’m grateful for that.

7 First senior Scotland goal

It came in a 5-0 win over Albania in a World Cup qualifier.

I’d cut inside and I thought: ‘I’ll have a pop!’

I was delighted to see it fly into the back of the net. I was overwhelmed with emotion!

It was nice to be home because I think it was the first game I’d played in Scotland in over five years and my mum and dad were in the crowd. They hadn’t seen me play for a while.

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8 Signing for City

I signed for City in June 2017 and I still can’t believe it!

I just love football and I just play and see where it takes me. To have been offered a full-time, professional contract at City was a dream come true. I’m really enjoying it.

I love being part of this squad. It was a big step up for me and I’m learning a lot each day.

9 City debut

It was in a 4-0 win against Yeovil. I was delighted to start and I really enjoyed it.

It was a good game – we controlled it and I got two assists.

I managed to get to the byline on a couple of occasions and move my feet quickly enough. I was delighted to have played a part in some of the goals.

It was a dream debut!

10 Best memory at City (so far)

Definitely my Champions League goal… I cried!

I came on as a substitute and scored a decent goal with my left foot. I was delighted.

I was celebrating and yes, some tears came out! I was so happy.

I was so excited just to play in the Champions League so to score was amazing.

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