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Hard watching us fall short – Clelland

Lana Clelland’s most recent goal was in March as Fiorentina lost 2-1 to eventual champions JuventusVenue: Seaview, Belfast Date: Thu 8 May Time: 19:00 BSTCoverage: BBC Sport websiteLana Clelland says it was “really hard” having to miss out because of Covid-19 restrictions as Scotland failed to qualify for the Euro 2022 finals.

The 28-year-old Fiorentina striker has not featured for her country since the 2019 World Cup.

But she has returned to the squad to face Northern Ireland on Thursday, then Wales, in World Cup warm-up friendlies.

“It’s been a struggle, but it’s amazing to be back and I can’t wait to get out there with the girls,” Clelland said.

“Especially in the last qualifying round, being at home and unable to help out was obviously hard, but we regroup and look forward to the World Cup qualifiers.”

Glasgow’s title success ‘unlikely to be matched’The first major lockdown came while Clelland was in Italy recovering from injury.

She recalls being “only allowed out once every two weeks for shopping”, and instead focused on rehab, reading and honing her cooking and gardening skills.

“I got through it,” she says. “I could get some gym work done in the house, and I had a garden as well. The thing that kept me going was the sunshine, which was probably the better part of not being in Scotland.”

Clelland also found herself on the bench for the final four fixtures of the Serie A season as Fiorentina finished fourth and is “absolutely buzzing to show what I can do in that blue shirt again”.

Scotland continue under the direction of Stuart McLaren, who has been interim head coach since Shelley Kerr left the post in December, and the forward is impressed with the atmosphere in the camp.

“Obviously we’d like to have a manager in place, but if it takes a bit longer just to get the right person, we’ll happily wait,” she adds. “We want to be a strong group. Hopefully it gets done in the next couple of weeks.”

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