ON Saturday evening, at the Seine Musicale arts centre in Paris, the 24 nations competing in next summer's World Cup will be drawn into six qualifying groups. Scotland will be among the third seeds, which will give Shelley Kerr and her players a good chance of reaching the knock-out stages.

The top two in each group go through to the last 16 automatically, and will be joined by the four best third-place nations. It all depends on the draw, but history could be made by this squad as no Scotland team, male or female, have progressed beyond the group stage in a major championship. It's a dismal record, but one there to be broken.

A new Fifa women's ranking will be announced on Friday, but it won't affect Scotland's status as a Pot 3 team. Kerr's side are ranked No 19 in the world and the head coach said: “Our result against the USA will have done us a lot of favours, even although we've lost the game. Fifa take into account how much higher ranked an opponent is.”

Unlike Euro 2017, which involved manageable travelling within the Netherlands – Utrecht, Rotterdam and Deventer were Scotland's group venues – there are potentially huge distances to be negotiated in France. Five of the nine venues are in the north of the country, including Paris, and two in the south, with Lyon and Grenoble in between. All six groups include grounds in both the north and south of the country.

“There are some groups with two games in the same location so you could get lucky there,” said Kerr, who will stay on for a site visit after the draw. “But there is going to be a lot of travelling.”

Scotland are among four nations making their World Cup debuts, the others being Chile, Jamaica and South Africa. The last two places were only claimed this weekend, with Cameroon and New Zealand – who are coached by a Scot, Tom Sermanni – taking the number of finalists up to the allotted 24.

As to the draw itself, it's conceivable, if unlikely, that Scotland could again face England (Pot 1) and Spain (Pot 2) in their World Cup group,

just as they did at the Euros. Portugal, the fourth team in their group in the Netherlands, have failed to qualify.

TWO announcements in the past few days have confirmed that reaching the World Cup finals can be a game changer for the sport. Having posted themselves absent from the national team's successes, the top men's clubs are now giving themselves a shake.

First up, on Tuesday, it was Rangers. Although club insiders had been expecting good news, they were given a further boost when it was announced on the very public stage of the club's annual general meeting by chairman Dave King.

“With everything else that has been going on at the club, we have not given enough financial and other support to our women footballers, who also proudly represent us,” he admitted. Although the detail has yet to be shared, the bottom line is that investment in the women's section is to triple.

Two days later it was Aberdeen. The Pittodrie club have been criticised, with justification, for their seeming indifference to women's football but the return to the club of Dave Cormack seems to have inspired a more enlightened attitude.

Now the major shareholder at Aberdeen, Cormack is well aware of the potential of the sport having been involved in successful business ventures in the United States. The club has now taken the Aberdeen Ladies first team squad completely under its wing, rebranded the side as Aberdeen FC Women, and will give the players the elite environment they have previously lacked.

The aim, obviously, will be to return to SBS SWPL1 in double quick time as the side has suffered two consecutive relegations and must start their new existence in SWFL Division 1 North.

What these Rangers and Aberdeen announcements tell players and coaches throughout Scotland is that their efforts are - finally - starting to get the recognition they deserve.