The future of Scottish women’s football will be in safe hands if Lochs teenager Rachael Johnstone continues her remarkable rise through the game.
Despite still only being 14-year-old the island teenager has already earned a cap for the Scottish national team under-16 side where she is alongside players from the likes of Manchester United, Rangers and Celtic.
It is another notch on what has been a meteroic rise for the Sir E Scott pupil who has also earned a trial with the Celtic under-19 side next season and a guarantee of eight to ten trial matches in between the sticks.
“Rachael took an interest in football in Primary 1 at Stornoway Primary,” recalled her mother Rhona to the Gazette.
“They were great at encouraging her and Gordon Macrae at the school was a big influence on her as well. Initally she played outfield but after joining Stornoway Athletic in S1 she took a spell in goals and she really enjoyed it.”
Her journey from playing with her friends at school and with her local club to the national set-up picked up steam last year when Western Isles Womens Football coach Euan Macleod recommended both Rachael and fellow goalkeeper Chloe Nicolson to SFA Development Officer Jo Murphy - who he stresses has been amazing.
From there she was invited to Aberdeen for training and the under-15 national team where she earned a cap in a match against Wales before then picking up a cap for the under-16s away to Poland recently.
“It’s been a tremendous journey,” continued Rhona, “and she will also be playing with the Celtic under-19s next season. They have promised her eight to ten games to have a look at her. It means we will have to travel down on a Friday for training before they play on a Sunday but it is a great chance for her and it is what she really wants to do.
“She is aiming for a professional football contract but she is being realistic and Rachael is sticking in at school as well incase a professional contract doesnt happen there will be a back up.”