AFTER the euphoria of the men’s team ending their wait to reach a major tournament, Caroline Weir and Lucy Graham will bid to help Scotland’s women maintain their quest for a third successive finals appearance next week.

The star duo, who play for Manchester City and Everton respectively, have been named in head coach Shelley Kerr’s 27-player squad for two vital European Championship qualifying matches with Portugal and Finland.

While Steve Clarke’s men’s side defeated Serbia in dramatic fashion last Thursday evening to seal their place at next summer’s Euro 2020 finals – their first major tournament since the France ‘98 World Cup – the women’s side are aiming to make it back-to-back European Championship qualifications either side of their maiden World Cup last summer.

Weir, who was involved in both of those tournaments, and Graham (left) will seek to play their part in the matches against Portugal, which will be played in Lisbon next Friday (November 27), and Finland, at Easter Road four days later, that will have a huge bearing on whether they will make it through to the competition.

After a 3-0 win at home to Albania last month – in which Player of the Match Weir, 25, scored twice and Graham, 24, played an hour – that maintained their perfect start to Group E, Scotland lost their fourth match of the section in Finland in the second part of the double-header.

That 1-0 defeat, which saw Weir collect her 73rd senior cap, kept a Finnish side managed by ex-Scotland manager Anna Signeul top of the section with 13 points from five games.

They are three ahead of second-placed Portugal and four clear of the Scots, both of whom have played a game fewer, with two further matches to play.

The finals, which, like the men’s tournament, has been delayed for a year because of COVID-19, will take place in England in 2022, and 16 teams will take part.

Together with the hosts, the nine group winners and three runners-up with the best records against teams first, third, fourth and fifth in their respective sections will qualify, while the remaining six group runners-up will play-off in April for the remaining three spots.

In their remaining qualifiers, which will be played next year, Scotland will face Portugal at home and Cyprus away, who they defeated 8-0 at home in their first match of the group.

Both next Friday’s match in Portugal, at 7pm, and the game with Finland on Tuesday, December 1, at 7.30pm, will be live on BBC Alba.