LIFE is about to get a lot less hectic for Emma Black, whose recently announced retirement is just the latest in a series of upheavals at Scottish champions Glasgow City.

Many consider that the right back, who won 42 Scotland caps, is far too young at 28 to be turning her back on football, but she has no regrets. She is already the most decorated player in the country with an extraordinary 21 winners’ medals to her name - nine league, six Scottish Cup and another half dozen from the League Cup.

“When I announced my retirement it was very emotional, but now I’m so happy I don’t have that burden of training,” says Black. When she played for Scotland the defender was getting up at 6am to go to the gym an hour later, dashing to her day job in the financial sector at 9am and then finishing her day at City’s evening training sessions.

There was another reason why her departure so soon after long-time head coach Eddie Wolecki Black left the club at the start of the month wasn’t entirely surprising. They are wife and husband.

Emma Fernon, as she was in 2004, had never heard of Wolecki Black when she joined City from Cumbernauld Cosmos as a slightly awe-struck teenager. “The team was full of experienced players, some of whom were playing for Scotland, and I wasn’t sure if I was good enough,” she recalls.

Black is unique in that she was the only member of the all-conquering side of the last eight years who was playing when it was Hibs who were the dominant team in Scotland. “Absolutely,” she confirms. “That was even the case when Eddie arrived a few years after I did.”

There’s no denying that a coach and a player starting a relationship has the potential to cause huge problems for a football club. Acknowledging this, Black says: “Eddie had already been at club for a year before we got together, so it was difficult at the beginning. We did say to everybody that if it was going to be a problem, either Eddie would walk away or I would.

“Fortunately that wasn’t necessary. When we trained I would just see Eddie as a coach, and he would see me as a player. Maybe he would be tougher on me sometimes. He was the boss at the club but, of course, I’m always the boss at home.”

It could require setting aside an afternoon to ask a player who has won 21 medals to talk about her career highlights, but Black quickly and succinctly cites the ones which have particularly pleased her.

“Scoring Glasgow City’s first-ever Champions League goal was certainly up there,” she says. “It was in a qualifying group match against Athletic Bilbao in Amsterdam, and although I think we lost 6-2 it was phenomenal just to have reached that stage because it was the first time we’d taken the title from Hibs.

“Beating Valur in Iceland to set up our first Champions League last-16 tie against Potsdam was another high point, as was our away leg against Paris Saint-Germain earlier this year. Leading an amateur team out in the quarter finals of the Champions League at the Parc des Princes was unbelievable – and a moment I’ll never forget.”

Black’s Scotland career also produced its big moments, although she retired from international football even earlier than she did from the club game.

“My first cap against France in 2009 was a massive highlight,” she says “When I’d stopped playing for the under-19s it was hard to bridge the gap into the full squad. I came on as a sub and it was fantastic to feel I was one of the best players in the country, representing Scotland.

“Beating England 2-0 in the Cyprus Cup was also phenomenal.”

Scotland’s continuing failure to reach the finals of a major championship, though, is a source of frustration. Black was on the bench on that fateful night in Madrid three years ago when Spain scored in the extra minute of extra time in a play-off to snatch qualification for the 2013 Euros.

“That was a really heartbreaking moment,” she reminisces. “We had it – we were there, we were through, and then that happened.

“I don’t think the substitutions helped. Megan Sneddon, a holding midfielder, came off very near the end and Suzanne Grant, an attacking player, went on. Spain scored the winner in front of the back four. You can never know, but a defensive player might have closed it down.”

Black is also critical of the other SWPL clubs for failing to produce teams that would have given City a tougher run for their many trophies.

“When I first joined City we had to change our attitudes, increase our training and get better coaches to replace Hibs as the dominant team,” she points out. “The other teams in Scotland now have to match us – and they haven’t.”

But looking back on her career, Black, who turned down offers to play professionally in England and was offered a trial with Barcelona, is content. “My aspiration was to win as many trophies as possible with Glasgow City and play for Scotland. I did both of these,” she says.

“I’ve given 11 years to Glasgow City and I’ve always put the club and my football first. Now it’s time for me, my family and my friends.”