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MEET THE SCOTS FEMALE FOOTBALLERS WHO ARE ICELAND'S VERY OWN TARTAN ARMY.

Byline: BRIAN McIVER

MEET THE SCOTS FEMALE FOOTBALLERS WHO ARE ICELAND'S VERY OWN TARTAN ARMY

WHEN Iceland line up against Scotland today, everyone in the Nordic country will be cheering the players on for their most important match of the year.

Everyone, that is, apart from a very small - but very vocal - tartan minority.

Scottish female football stars Michelle Barr and Mhairi Gilmour are two of the biggest names in Icelandic women's football and have more reasons than most Scots fans to want the men's team to do well today.

The girls said all their friends and team-mates in Iceland have been desperate to get revenge for Scotland's victory last year and admitted their lives wouldn't be worth living if the men lost.

Michelle is the captain of Icelandic team IBV and has been with the team for three years, while new team- mate Mhairi will join the Icelandic league in two weeks.

Both players, who starred in the Scotland women's team's crunch match with Germany earlier this week, want a good Scotland result today to round off their week and set them up for the new season on the island.

Michelle will be joining her Icelandic team-mates this weekend, hoping to silence her football- mad friends in adopted home town of Vestmannaeyjar.

She said: "It was fantastic when we managed to beat Iceland last year.

"The men got a great result and I just hope we can do it again, although a lot of people over here think they can get a win back this time, but I'm just looking forward to watching the game with my friends over here - as long as we win."

Michelle, 24, of Shotts, also acted as caretaker manager of the team last season and is one of Scotland's most experienced players, with 65 caps.

She is one of the few Scots women who makes a living from the sport. After several years with Cumbernauld Ladies, she came to the attention of the Icelandic side while they were touring Britain three years ago.

She said: "It's an amazing country and the people are really friendly as well - I've made loads of friends. I'm lucky to play football for a living."

Winger Mhairi, 22, of Ayrshire, has just signed for the side and is desperate for a Scotland win this weekend to set her up for her debut.

She said: "It's exciting to be going out there. I've spent the last year in the Swedish women's league, but I'm looking forward to playing in Iceland.

The 29-times-capped forward added: "I've never been to Iceland before but it sounds like a wonderful place to live and from what Michelle says, all the girls in the team are great."

Mhairi, of Ayrshire, used to play in the same Ayr United side as Scotland captain Julie Fleeting, who now stars for top US women's team San Diego Spirit.

She said: "It's great for me to be playing football for a living and representing my country.

"Women's football has never been better and there is a much higher profile than before.

"But we'll all still be cheering on the boys against Iceland."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EXIC
Date:Mar 29, 2003
Words:523
Previous Article:MUM'S GONE TO ICELAND; As Scotland face their Nordic rivals, DNA tests reveal that 60 per cent of women on the island are descended from Scots.
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