THE Scotland squad which will travel to Nice on June 5 for the World Cup is far stronger than the one which departed for Utrecht and the Euros in July 2017. All the players Shelley Kerr wanted to select, with the possible exception of Arsenal left-back Emma Mitchell, were fit and available.

Mitchell was among the high-profile injury casualties who missed out on the Euros, along with Kim Little, Jen Beattie and Lizzie Arnot. Striker Jane Ross was also incapacitated in the opening game against England.

It’s all very different now and, unlike 2017, sentiment hasn’t been a factor either.

It is to Kerr’s credit that she spent the best part of a day calling 33 players to inform them of her decisions. There would have been less painful ways of telling the 10 who missed out on the biggest occasion of their careers, but the head coach didn’t shirk from the personal approach.

Lucy Graham, who announced on Thursday that she has left Bristol City, Abbi Grant and Rachel Harrison had featured in the January friendlies against Norway and Iceland, but were omitted from later squads so it can’t have been a surprise to learn they weren’t going to France.

That was probably also the case with Abi Harrison, who featured in the Algarve Cup but was then dropped from the squad which played Chile and Brazil.

Three others were far more borderline. In Rachel Corsie’s absence, Frankie Brown shared the captain’s armband in La Manga in January. She also played in one Algarve Cup game, but was omitted in favour of Sophie Howard for last month’s trip to Spain.

Brown’s continued omission would presumably have been painful given the 31-year-old has amassed 96 caps and was one of the players virtually guaranteed a game under Kerr’s predecessor Anna Signeul. However, she hasn’t been a first-choice defender under Kerr, while Howard, who is younger, has had several starts, including against Brazil.

Striker Zoe Ness was the only player from the Spain squad who wasn’t selected for France. The 23-year-old played very well against Denmark in the Algarve Cup, but Lana Clelland’s return from injury made her exclusion almost inevitable, even if it was very hard on the player.

The only major controversy was over Mitchell. Omitting her was a huge call for Kerr, because not only was the player her first-choice left-back since replacing Signeul, but she signed the defender for Arsenal during her spell as manager of the English club.

Mitchell is also a big personality within the squad and is particularly close to her club team-mates Lisa Evans and Little. If there was one phone call Kerr was dreading above all others at the start of the week it was surely this one.

But there was, again, footballing logic behind her decision. Through a combination of circumstances Mitchell's last game for Scotland was the final World Cup qualifier in Albania in September. She has missed the last eight. Nor, until she came on as an 80th-minute substitute eight days ago, had the 26-year-old played for Arsenal since a cup tie against Manchester United on February 7.

Her 10 minutes against Manchester City were crowned with the stunning strike which separated the FA WSL's top two sides. But, with the English season having ended, opportunities ran out for Mitchell to build up game time ahead of the most highly pressured tournament in world football.

KERR has, with her hard-headed selections, given Scotland every chance of enjoying a positive World Cup and achieving the team's first target of reaching the last 16. She and her assistants, Andy Thomson and Steve Banks, have also instilled a resilience in the players which wasn't – as a unit – so evident two years ago.

There are six players in Kerr's squad who weren't at the Euros – Jenna Fife, Beattie, Nicola Docherty, Arnot, Little and Claire Emslie and there is a far better age mix in this group. Corsie is a no-nonsense captain, and Erin Cuthbert, who scored Scotland's first goal in a major championship, has developed into one of Europe's best young players.

TODAY'S league game against Forfar Farmington could, theoretically, be Scott Booth's last as Glasgow City head coach. His contract runs out in July, before the second half of the domestic season begins. It is understood he and the club owners are in talks to agree an extension until November.