SCOTLAND’S women’s hockey team face Italy this week in a three-match series beginning this evening at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.

And Grove Menzieshill player Katie Robertson sees the matches as the perfect opportunity for the team to progress as they begin their build-up in earnest to the EuroHockey II Championships, which will be held in Glasgow next summer.

The Scots faced Ireland last week in another three-match series and although they were defeated 3-0 overall, there were, believes Robertson, a number of positives that they can take into their matches against Italy this week.

“It was challenging given that the two teams are at different phases – Ireland are getting ready for the World Cup whereas we’re going through a change in our coaching staff. And some of our players are taking some time out post-Commonwealth Games,” the 21-year-old said.

“But having said that, I do think we made progress – a number of our young players stepped up, in particular, Hanna McKie who scored on her first cap. There’s a huge amount of young talent coming through for us and that’s great to see.”

And having finished seventh in the Commonwealth Games in April, Robertson is looking for a strong performance against the Italians.

“These will be tough games,” she said. “They’ve got a lot of skillful players and they play fast, attacking hockey and like to crash the ball into the circle so there’s no doubt that these games will be really challenging.”

Robertson admits that she and her teammates were somewhat disappointed with their seventh-place finish in Gold Coast but things were not all doom and gloom.

An incredibly tough draw, which saw the Scots face both Australia and New Zealand, the eventual gold and silver medallists, in the group stages made things tricky right from the off but it was Scotland's attacking abilities that most encouraged Robertson as she looks back on the team's Games performance

"Finishing in seventh was quite a hard result to take," she admits.

"But when we look at it, we played great hockey and we scored goals which we hadn’t been doing ahead of the Games.

"Last summer, we only scored one goal whereas at Commy Games, we did score goals so I feel like we made progress.

"So while finishing seventh doesn’t sound great, we did play some very good hockey and looking back on it, we were pretty gutted at our final placing but there were big positives that we could take from it too."

This summer marks something of a new era for the Scots. Long-standing head coach Gordon Shepherd left his post as head coach of the women's national team in the aftermath of the Commonwealth Games and while no replacement has yet been appointed, Robertson is exited to see what a fresh approach can bring.

"It’ll be good to get some new ideas," she said.

It was sad to see him (Shepherd) go after being there so long but I think the squad is ready for some fresh ideas and some new principles of play.

"I think the change will do us all good and it will also hopefully inspire some of us to go on a little longer.

"Things are very exciting. We’ve got new coaching staff coming in, there’ll be some new players breaking into the squad and we’ve got a home Euros next summer to look forward to. And we’re now in a new four-year cycle looking towards the next Commonwealth Games.

"So looking forward, we have a very bright future – we’re a young squad and I think we’re all starting to really gel together. So hopefully, before long, it’ll all start to click and we’ll be on our way to some great results."