Lochs teenager earns Scotland under-16 football selection

The future of Scottish women’s football will be in safe hands if Lochs teenager Rachael Johnstone continues her remarkable rise through the game.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 1:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 2:06 pm

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.

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“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.”