Shelley Kerr focused on game as she prepares to make history

By Jane LewisBBC Scotland
Stirling University manager Shelley Kerr
Shelley Kerr won three trophies during a 16-month spell in charge of Arsenal Ladies

Shelley Kerr will make Scottish Cup history on Sunday - but she is more concerned with making the second round.

When Kerr's Stirling University side host Albion Rovers in first round action, she will become the first female to lead out a team in the competition's 141-year history.

The former Arsenal Ladies boss is, however, keen to focus on the football.

"It's a distraction and I've tried to keep the distraction so it's affecting me rather than the team," Kerr said.

"I can understand it but for me I'm just doing my job.

"It should never be about gender, it should be about skill set and, thankfully for me, I've had nothing but positivity surrounding my career in football. Long may that continue, although you know when results don't go in your favour that can change."

Albion Rovers have made a great start to the season under manager Darren Young, and currently sit second-top of League Two.

Stirling University, who appointed Kerr in August, are mid-table in the Scottish Lowland League after a solid start to their campaign.

Ciaran Donnelly (left) celebrates after giving Albion Rovers the lead against Rangers at Ibrox in last term's Scottish Cup
Ciaran Donnelly (left) celebrates after giving Albion Rovers the lead against Rangers at Ibrox

And 44-year-old Kerr is hugely positive about the challenge her players face, against a side that stunned Motherwell in the competition last season and took Rangers to a replay before being knocked out by the Ibrox outfit in the quarter-finals.

"Albion Rovers are flying, they're in a higher division than us so there's no expectation on us which is a good thing," Kerr told BBC Scotland.

"But we're on a decent run of form, we've got a young group of players and I'm sure they'll embrace the challenge. It's really exciting but if you're asking me to predict, I can't.

"Our short term goal was to accumulate points in the Lowland League, which thankfully we've done.

"We've built up a little bit of momentum just now so on Sunday it's an opportunity for us to switch off from the bread and butter of our own league and test ourselves against a higher opposition.

"For our guys it's an opportunity to test themselves. Some of them have been in the professional environment previously so it's not that they have a point to prove, but I'm sure they'll want to give a good account of ourselves on the day.

"We'll give it our best, make sure the guys are well prepared, and you never know in football."