There might not be too many travelling supporters in the Stadion Pod Malim Brdom in Petrovac tomorrow to see Ireland take on Montenegro but, with RTE 2 showing the match live, Harriet Scott knows there will be an unseen green army roaring on the visitors.
The evidence has been there in the home games of the Euro 2021 qualifers to date, including a record crowd of 5,328 in Tallaght for the 3-2 win against Ukraine and yet another big turn-out of 4,511 at the same venue for last week’s 1-0 victory over Greece.
“It’s fantastic,” says the Birmingham City defender. “You see Denise (O’Sullivan) breaking with the ball and you can literally hear the whole crowd cheering her on.
“I don’t have to say anything because the crowd is doing it for us.
“It’s fantastic at the moment. The amount of people that are behind us and the amount of people who are staying behind wanting to speak to you and wanting to say congratulations, is massive.
“And it’s not just the people who are showing up — we are getting a massive following on social media now. It does feel like the whole country is behind us and it’s a massive push for us. It’s exactly what we need for the campaign.”
With the Irish riding high in second-place in Group 1, Scott recognises that a play-off place for next year’s finals in England is firmly in their sights.
“It’s the least the fans deserve,” she says. “With the squad that we have, it’s potentially the best we’ve ever looked in terms of qualifying. I think as long as we stick to our task and don’t worry about anyone else, that’s exactly what we need to be able to qualify. We focus on what we need to do as well as we can, create those chances, keep a clean sheet and just focus on each game as they come.
“Obviously we don’t want to get too carried away, but that is the target — we want to qualify and we want to give ourselves the best chance to qualify.”
But first it’s a return meeting tomorrow with a Montenegrin side which has yet to score a goal in qualifying and whose three defeats to date include losing 2-0 to the Irish in Dublin. Not that the 27-year-old Blessington native is taking anything for granted in Petrovac.
“The way they played against us in Dublin was kind of similar to Greece, in that they sat off us a little bit and we had to break them down,” Scott observes. “I think we need to make sure we don’t get frustrated and use the creative players we have — like Ruesha (Littlejohn), Denise (O’Sullivan), Clare Shine when she is on and Amber (Barrett) — to give us chances. We need to keep moving it and be patient but do things with a purpose. That’s the main thing.
“Any team in the group is potentially a banana skin that you could slip up on. We just need to make sure the job we do is what we have set ourselves throughout the week. We’ll be fully invested in it and we’ll be fully trying to get the three points we need, come home and be happy.”
Montenegro v Ireland will be live on RTE2 tomorrow from 2:30pm (kick off 3pm) and will also be available worldwide via the RTE Player.