Nov 2 2011 By Gordon Parks
Glasgow City booked their place in the last 16 with a win in Reykjavic in Iceland
GLASGOW CITY gaffer Laura Montgomery insists it’s time to start highlighting the hard work of Scotland's sportswomen.
The general manager of the SWPL side hopes their Champions League last 16 clash with German champions Turbine Potsdam is a showcase for women's sport in this country.
City are the only Scottish team to have reached this stage of the UEFA competition and Montgomery insists her club are creating role models for a nation starved of successful female athletes.
She said: "As a nation we are missing a trick here. If you stop any young girl, boy or even adult in the street and ask them to name two Scottish sportswomen you could be waiting a while for them to come up with one name never mind two.
"But if you ask them to name a famous sportsman they would rhyme off loads.
"That's the problem, we don't have enough female role models for kids to aspire to and we have issues with obesity and inactivity in children who would rather play computers than be inspired to change that cycle.
"Unless we get female footballers and athletes on the back pages to let these kids see it then we are never going to become a healthier nation.
"We watch the Olympics every four years and you see the odd athlete or tennis player but until kids have a Scottish sportswoman to really identify with then it won't change.
"That's why the exposure the Glasgow City girls side are getting is the biggest factor for me.
"We've had a great season and we are the only Scottish team to reach this stage so everything is going well.
"We've had a bit more attention than we've had in the past and I believe that is well due. We are now doing well on the European stage as well as domestically and the attention is warranted for the girls' hard work as well as their talent."
Montgomery simply isn't interested in comparing the merits of women's football with men's as she's adamant it's an entirely different game.
But she's convinced the lack of recent success in Scottish sport should ensure the nation rallies round City's Champions League quest.
She said: "They are completely different sports so I don't believe there are lessons to be learned from the men’s game.
"Football is a sport which our nation loves as it's a fantastic game to both watch and participate in.
"Scotland hasn't been doing well on all sporting fronts so why not get behind a Scottish team which is doing well.
"But if we don't promote it then nobody will know it exists.
“Most of our clubs don't have a proper home or even a proper identity.
"They hire council facilities so we are at the embryonic stage as we don’t have the wealth of the men’s game."
City's clash against Turbine Potsdam will be screened live on BBC Alba tonight and Montgomery insists City deserve to have their name up in lights.
She said: "In terms of success, effort, time and commitment which goes into it then our players are phenomenal. They are full-time professional athletes who don't get paid and are competing at the highest level while combining that with jobs and studies.
"Some of the girls are doing double sessions on certain days and can have up to eight sessions a week.
"As a club we want to be successful and the girls want to be the best they can be.
"To do so we need to train and compete as professionals as we are playing against professional teams. On Wednesday we face a full-time side full of players who get paid an awful lot of money."
Tonight's opponents have been tipped to lift the trophy but Montgomery insists City won’t have an inferiority complex.
She said: "We're not just here to give a good account of ourselves, we are here to win and get through to the quarter-finals. There's no point in playing a game if you don’t believe you can win.
"We are playing the favourites and a top quality team but we are here to test ourselves in the Champions League."