IT took Lee Alexander until her late twenties to establish herself as Scotland’s number one goalkeeper but now that she has, she is relishing every moment of it.

The 27-year-old received her first call-up to the national squad in late-2015 but remained uncapped for almost two years. However, following the retirement of Scotland’s long-time number one Gemma Fay after the European Championships last summer, Alexander has stepped up to take the number one jersey and it is, despite the increased pressures, a dream come true.

“This is something that I’ve always wanted to do - I’ve always loved playing football and particularly for my country because I don’t think there’s anything better than to represent Scotland,” she said. “So the last six months have been great for me and I’m really fortunate that I’ve had a lot of game time. There is more pressure on me now but more than anything, it’s the pressure that I put on myself.”

The women’s national team are on the crest of a wave at the moment. They made history last summer by qualifying for their first-ever major championship and they are currently in the midst of the qualifying campaign for the 2019 World Cup.

Having played two games, and won both, they could not have made a better start to the campaign. But in just a few weeks, Scotland will play two of their most important games of the qualification when they take on Switzerland on the 5th of April away, before taking on Poland just five days later at home.

With Switzerland currently top of Scotland’s group and Poland one place below them in third, getting a couple of good results is crucial. But Scotland’s build-up could not be going better, with a brace of 2-0 wins against New Zealand in the past week during a warm-weather training camp in Spain the best possible preparation.

“It was two really pleasing results against New Zealand,” said Alexander, who was speaking at a Lidl Skills Centre to tie in with International Women’s day, with programmes seeing over a 200% increase in the participation of girls aged 5-12 over the last three seasons.

“We were happy to have kept two clean sheets but also on an attacking front, we created a lot of opportunities over the two games,” she said. “So overall, it was a very successful camp in terms of preparation in what we needed ahead of the qualifiers next month.”

Alexander is under no illusions as to how difficult the Switzerland-Poland double-header will be but their current form has left her and her teammates full of confidence that they can make it to their first-ever World Cup. “These two teams will be the biggest tests we’ll face and we know how difficult the games will be,” she said.

“But I think that off the back of qualifying for the Euros last year, we do have the belief that we can keep doing that and that’s a huge driver for us.”

Shelley Kerr has been the Scotland manager since Anna Signeul stepped down in the aftermath of last summer’s European Championships and has slotted into the role seamlessly. Signeul improved the level of the national side significantly and Kerr has continued the drive forward. It was Kerr who gave Alexander the number one jersey and while she is clearly appreciative of this fact, she is also hugely complimentary of the positives that Kerr has brought to the side as a whole. “ It’s been great,” she said.

“For Shelley, it’s all about trying to fine-tune the tactical and technical aspects of our game so that we can put in the performances that we should out in on a more regular basis.

“Shelley is really keen to instil that you have to be performing well week in, week out for your club to be selected for the national team and then when you are in there, you have to be performing for the national team to stay in the squad. So I think that fierce competition has been really beneficial and it’s pulled us together as a squad.”

Before Alexander turns her attention to the international scene though, she has club commitments with Glasgow City, who she has been with for much of her senior career. The Glasgow side won its eleventh consecutive league title last year and Alexander is keen to continue that run, although wrestling back the two domestic cups from Hibs is also a priority. “I’ve been at the club six or seven seasons and it’s just instilled in you that you have to win,” she said.

“Securing the eleventh title in a row was huge for us but that’s a run that we want to continue. The main priority is the league but I think that we should focus a little bit more on the cup competitions because we really want them back.

So hopefully we can retain the league but we’ll be bringing the cups back to Glasgow too.”