LEANNE Crichton's mother has stopped asking when her 33-year-old daughter is going to get a proper job. She is now resigned to – and perhaps a little proud of – football being an integral part of the Glasgow City midfielder's life.

“Crichton At Crossroads” might have been the headline when the player recently announced she was retiring from international duty. That was after 72 caps, the first a friendly win over Russia in 2009, and the last in November's Euro qualifying defeat to Portugal in Lisbon.

But while calling a halt on a long-term international career is a time to take stock and reflect, Crichton had already embarked on a burgeoning media journey. To that end she is in the first year of a university degree course to learn more about her new trade.

That's the way it is for women footballers, who, on and off the pitch, have to work harder to be offered the same opportunities as their male counterparts. Throw in her European Championship, World Cup and Champions League experience, as well as the A license coaching badge she is working on, and Crichton might just be qualified to pass comment on the game she loves.

Yet for some men it can never be enough. Alex Scott had an even more serried career with Arsenal and England (140 caps), and also has an honours sports writing and broadcasting degree. Yet depressingly, and invariably for misogynistic reasons, she frequently trends on social media while working at games.

“She's good at what she does and some people can't stand that,” Crichton confirms. “They genuinely don't like to see other folk getting on and I find that so sad.

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“I don't mind people saying you're a crap pundit because that's an opinion. It's the stupid stuff like slagging your appearance, what your hair looks like. Something that female pundits on TV are subjected to more than male counterparts.

“I've worked very hard to apply myself and never been content with doing the gig just because you're a current or ex-player. That's only going to take you so far, especially when you're talking about the men's game as you haven't been a part of it.”

Tighter control of social media should be a given, but is as likely to happen as Crichton playing a 73rdtime for Scotland. That chapter in her life is over; she looks back on it with great fondness, but there are also regrets.

Much of the latter concerns Scotland's failure to get out of their groups at Euro 2017 and the 2019 World Cup – plus, of course, the most recent, and hugely damaging, Euro 22 qualifying failure.

With typical candour Crichton says she is still haunted by an early second half miss against Spain in the third and final group game of the Euros four years ago. Caroline Weir had earlier given Scotland a 1-0 lead, but the team needed another goal to progress.

“The Euros scarred me because I missed that sitter against Spain,” she recalls. “We only needed 2-0 on the night and I missed from three yards out putting the ball over the bar. Even at the World Cup two years later I was thinking you can't ever miss a chance as good as that again.”

The reality, however, is that Scotland were under siege in the Spain game and did well to emerge with any sort of win. The defeat to lower ranked Portugal – the start of a three game trend – in the previous match was vastly more damaging.

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“The Euros were new to us. We should have been more direct and had more belief we could win the Portugal game,” Crichton states.

“But overall, I was able to enjoy the Euros a bit more than the World Cup. It was so new, and it was such an achievement for our side to qualify for a tournament for the first time.

“We should have learned as a team from what happened – but then the same thing happens at the World Cup. You've not won the first two games but you can still qualify by winning the last one.”

Crichton wasn't selected for the 2-1 defeats against England and Japan in France, but was introduced by Shelley Kerr to give the midfield some much-needed defensive presence against Argentina at the Parc des Princes. With other groups still to be resolved it wasn't clear how big a win would be required to qualify for the last 16 – but even during the game Crichton had no doubts that protecting the side's three goal lead was the priority.

“Instead, at 3-0 we're still chasing goals,” she points out. “There was never a plan to shut up shop, and as an experienced player on the pitch I wish I had ruled with my head and made that decision – but ultimately it's not yours to make so you're in a no-win situation.

“A couple of times we went up for a set play. Me and (central defenders) Jenny (Beattie) and Rachel (Corsie) are saying should we even be in the box? Why are we still trying to score?

“We were having this conversation on the pitch and at 3-0 I'm saying to the dug-out what are we doing?”

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Allowing Argentina to claw back three goals in the final 16 minutes was bad enough, but the failure to even qualify for the delayed Euro 2022 finals in England has been an even bigger setback for the women's game in Scotland.

“I think we underestimated the other teams,” Crichton admits of her side finishing third in a qualifying group they were seeded to win. “We had better players and thought that was going to be enough.

“Ultimately it's never enough. You have to work hard and apply yourself and have a plan of action, pick your best team and prepare as well as possible. I don't think over the course of the campaign it was shown we had done that.”