Western Wildcats and Scotland star Rob Harwood set for massive year for club and country

Milngavie hockey player Rob Harwood is hoping his recent silver medal at the Euros with Scotland is just the start of an exciting season for club and country.

Rob Harwood (right) helped Scotland to second place at the Euros II (pic: Rob Lindblade)

Harwood was one of three Western Wildcats players – along with Andy McConnell and Hamish Galt – who helped Scotland finish second at the recent EuroHockey Championship II in Poland.

That was enough to book Scotland’s place in the World Cup qualifiers in Cardiff next month.

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And with domestic and European club hockey coming up with Wildcats, not to mention next summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on the horizon next year, there’s so much to look forward for Harwood and his team-mates after all the frustrations of Covid over the past 18 months.

After coming through pool matches with Ukraine, Austria and Switzland and a semi-final win over Ireland, Scotland ultimately fell just short as they lost to Austria in the final on penalties.

But a silver medal was still job done for Harwood.

"The aim was to finish in the top five to qualify for the World Cup qualifiers; that was the minumum target,” he explained.

"But we had so little preparation in the summer, that was the first time the full squad had played together in the first game of the tournament, so it was far from ideal preparation.

"Semi-finals was where we wanted to be and we just took it from there."

After a draw with Ukraine and narrow loss to Austria,, Scotland had to beat Switzerland by at least four goals in their final match to progress.

They won 6-0 – and then came from two down to beat Ireland 3-2 in a dramatic semi-final before their penalty heartbreak against Austria.

Harwood said: “Before the tournament we would have definitely taken second place but to go out on penalties was a pretty tough way to go; it felt like we were the better team in the final.”

Harwood’s focus is now on the start of the national league season next week.

"We'll certainly be looking to challenge for the league and cup this year. I think we've got a really strong squad,” he said.

"And because we finished second in the last season that we had, we’ll be in the hockey equivalent of the Europa League in football. That will be in March so that's really exciting to have.”