Even in her wildest dreams, Nicki Cochrane could barely have believed how well the first few months of 2018 would go for her.

In January, the 24-year-old from Glasgow won her first cap for GB when she was part of the squad that took on Argentina in a five match test series in South America. Then just a month later, the goalkeeper found out that she had been selected to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games for the first time.

Cochrane has been a member of the Scottish squad for quite some time – despite her young age, she has already won over 50 caps – but it was her selection for GB that represented a real step up. And having watched the British team win an Olympic medal in 2012, she admits that the thought of playing alongside some of those players seems almost unfathomable at the time.

The progress she has made in recent seasons though, she admits, a real boost to her confidence. “2018 for me has been unbelievable so far,” she said.

“To go away to Argentina and represent GB was just incredible and such a huge honour. That’s something I could only dream of when I was younger.

“I remember going to London 2012 and watching the girls win a bronze medal and so to think that I’m now in a team with them is just amazing.

“If the younger me could see me now, she wouldn’t have any clue what was going on.”

For now though, Cochrane’s focus is trained only on Scotland duty. The Scots reached the quarter-finals at Glasgow 2014 but have taken giant strides forward in the intervening four years.

A number of retirements post-Glasgow resulted in significant changes in the team and Cochrane is confident that players, including herself, will not be overwhelmed by what could potentially be their first-ever multi-sport Games.

“Everyone is feeling good,” she said.

“And we’re so excited about getting started - we’ve had meetings to give us an idea of what to expect from things like the Athletes Village so it sounds like it’s going to be amazing.

“The last little bit is the worst because all the hard work is done so now, we’re just waiting for the Games to start.

“We had a lot of retirements after Glasgow but that gave opportunities for some youngsters to come in. A lot of those young players were really inexperienced back then but now, most of them have been to three, maybe four, major tournaments so they’re now experienced players.

“So we’re in a really good place in that sense.”

The progress of the squad in recent years means that Cochrane and her teammates go into Gold Coast 2018, which kicks-off with the Opening Ceremony on Wednesday, with high hopes that they can better that, and potentially even return from Australia with some silverware, which is something that a Scottish team has never before achieved.

“The team is in a really positive place at the moment,” she said.

“It’s great thinking that we can go there and make a real impact. Every tournament we go to, we want to do well whether that’s get a medal or reach the semi-finals or whatever.

“We’re not there just to make up the numbers and the Commonwealth Games is definitely a tournament we can go to and do well and that’s what’s so exciting.

“If we won a medal, it would be unbelievable. If we could manage that, I think it’d do so much for hockey in Scotland. Coming away with a medal is definitely the dream.”

Such is the strength of Scottish goalkeeping at the moment though, despite Cochrane’s GB selection, she is still not a guaranteed first-choice for Scotland as her compatriot, Amy Gibson is also a GB team member.

While many would find that level of competition for one place in the starting line-up destructive, Cochrane is adamant that herself and Gibson work in perfect harmony as a pair and having such inter-squad competition is, believes Cochrane, the best thing that could happen for both herself and for the Scottish team as a whole.

“It’s so healthy that we’re both there fighting for selection,” she said.

“Amy’s one of my best mates and we constantly push each other on in training. Both of us want to be on that pitch so we have to make it as difficult as possible for each other. But we work really well as a team and we’re constantly helping each other. She’s been great with me – she helped me so much when I first got into the Scotland squad.

“It’s brilliant that we have that relationship – it’s such a difficult thing but we have somehow gelled together so well. I want her to be playing well and she wants me to be playing well and that’s great for the team.”