Jane Ross and Claire Emslie scored first-half goals for Scotland WomenScotland Women thumped Albania to maintain their emphatic start to Euro 2021 qualifying Group E.After opening their campaign with an 8-0 rout of Cyprus, the Scots started strongly in Elbasan with Claire Emslie and Jane Ross scoring before the break.Erin Cuthbert and debutant Hannah Godfrey added further goals as Christie Murray rounded off the scoring.Scotland are second in the group, three points shy of Finland, who have played a game more.The result means Shelley Kerr’s team have scored 13 goals and conceded none in their opening two matches.They are next in qualifying action away to Cyprus on 9 April.Free-scoring Scots bamboozle AlbaniaScotland’s previous visit to Albania, 14 months ago, brought a rousing 2-1 victory that sealed their passage to this year’s World Cup. By comparison, this was an absolute cruise for a Scotland team which never hit top gear but frankly never needed to.In the early skirmishes, they stretched and lacerated a largely hapless foe with the panache of their wide players and the slickness of their passing.Emslie and Emma Mitchell on the left flank, and debutant Kirsty Hanson on the right, made foray after telling foray. Hanson in particular was a constant menace, crossing for Ross to head over with 90 seconds gone then swaggering inside to blast a left-foot drive that was tipped away by Viola Rexhepi.The early siege bore fruit when Emslie prodded in with 15 minutes gone, pouncing on a chance at the back post after Ross had glanced on a Hanson delivery.The forward did likewise nine minutes later, seizing on a horrible spill from Rexhepi to plunder her 60th Scotland goal.There should have been more before the break, Ross and Lisa Evans coming closest. A 2-0 advantage was a meagre reflection of their supremacy.Caroline Weir fizzed over seven minutes into the second half before a delightful manoeuvre yielded Scotland’s third.
Evans danced clear down the right, and slid back towards Weir, whose sumptuous dummy let the ball roll in to the path of Cuthbert. The Chelsea forward, an unusually understated presence until then, caressed brilliantly beyond Rexhepi.Play continued to flow in an inexorable torrent towards the home goal. Ross’ header was too weak to trouble Rexhepi, but Cuthbert’s curler from the left was poked in a trifle clumsily by Godfrey at the second attempt.What little resistance Albania had offered early in proceedings had now been eroded. Hanson struck the bar with a cross from a piercing drive up the left, before Murray was allowed the freedom of the home box to delicately stroke home from another neat Evans cut-back.Player of the match – Kirsty HansonOn her international bow, Hanson was an outstanding architect of Scotland chances, appearing on either flank and filleting the Albanian defence.When she scurried her way into space, her deliveries were crisp and accurate and she was twice unlucky not to cap her debut with a goal.A late call-up for Martha Thomas, who was also in line for a first Scotland outing, Hanson has given Kerr another exciting attacking option.