DAME Katherine Grainger has become the latest of Scotland’s sporting icons to lend a hand to the national women’s football team - after she popped into their Edinburgh training base with a few pre-World Cup pointers on how to keep an even keel in a pressurised situation.

A week after Judy Murray, first minister Nicola Sturgeon and men’s team manager Steve Clarke chipped in with words of support and advice after the warm-up match against Jamaica at Hampden, the Olympic rowing star, who memorably won gold for Britain at London 2012 after three previous silver medals, passed on a few hints and tips about how to perform on the big occasion.

As much promise as Shelley Kerr’s group of players have, a group containing England, Japan and Argentina means that everything is unlikely to be entirely plain sailing for the Scots when their campaign gets under way in Nice against the Auld Enemy on Sunday.

“We had Katherine Grainger here speaking to the squad last night,” explained Lizzie Arnot, the Manchester United winger. “She is an amazing speaker. It was great that she came to see us, we could have listened to her all night, it was hugely inspirational.

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“She talked about the pressures, about the fans, the expectation and all that brings,” added Arnot. “Her best message was to tell us that, if we’re ever nervous, we should just think about why we started our sport. That brought it home.

“The way she explained things really get you focused. Because there’s a lot going on at a major event – and you have to get your thoughts together. If you are thinking about why you started this journey, it helps you understand how you got to this point

“I started playing football for the pure love of it. That was the main thing. And it has always been a dream of mine, since I was young, to be here.”

Arnot celebrated the English Championship title (the second tier south of the border) in the colours of Manchester United this season – parading it around a packed Old Trafford on the final day of the season as the men’s team went down to a home defeat against Cardiff City.

So there is an irony that she is determined to disappoint at least one Red Devils legend when the World Cup action gets under way in Nice this Sunday. Phil Neville, famously part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Class of 92, will be in charge of the England team.

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“It has been incredible to be part of Manchester United, although obviously the men are always going to be at a different level,” said Arnot. “They are training at Carrington but we don’t expect to train there - instead they are trying to develop the Cliff for us to have our own place.

“It would be pretty special to get down there, hopefully that happens - the sooner the better,” she added. “I’ve not seen Phil Neville at training, although he came to one of our games in a pre-season friendly. I think that was just to watch some of the England girls and stuff. That was when he was just newly-appointed.

“It would be amazing if we could silence a Manchester United legend in that opening game … but that is not at the forefront of my mind!”

Arnot was a Hibs player when Scotland last reached a major finals, Euro 2017 in the Netherlands. She would have been an asset to Anna Signeul’s squad were it not for the cruciate ligament injury which left here sidelined with fellow crocks Kim Little and Jen Beattie. At least the trio could act as a bit of a support group for each other.

“I watched that last England match at home on TV,” she recalled. “It was a hard time but at least I had had enough time before it to come to terms with it.

“I ruptured my knee in training. Obviously I was backing the girls all the way although it was devastating not to be there.

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“But now I think everything happens for a reason. The injured girls were there for each other and you knew you weren’t suffering alone. The support from everyone, here, the players, the staff, Hibs, family and friends, that is what brought you through it as well.”

When men’s football was in its heyday, every top English team was said to have two or three Scots in their line-up. The good news for Scotland is that pretty much sums up the state of play currently in the women’s game.

“There are a lot of us down in England,” said Arnot. “People are getting recognised.

“Claire [Emslie] and Caroline [Weir] have just win the FA Cup with Man City, Erin [Cuthbert, of Chelsea] is in the team of the year, Kim [Little] and Lisa [Evans] have won the league [With Arsenal]. That’s massive. We have players involved at the highest level now. That’s great.”

No wonder she thinks both the performance and outcome will be massively different from that 6-0 humbling in Utrecht.

“I think the match with England is going to be very different,” said Arnot, who has been involved in the Scotland set up since Under-15 but still only has two goals to her name in the best part of 30 appearances. “It’s two years on. We’ve grown as a squad and are well positioned to challenge them.

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“It was hard watching that two years ago. I don’t like watching my team lose. But the girls have responded well, we’ve grown. We haven’t used it as an excuse – but motivation to push on.

“I felt a lot of sympathy for the girls that day,” the 23-year-old added. “They weren’t in the best position to face such a strong side, with injuries.

“But we’ll use that memory, that disappointment, to make sure it doesn’t happen again – and that we create a new positive memory.”