The summertime of 2019 will be remembered as the moment Scottish ladies’s football attained global recognition.
Shelley Kerr’s Scotland squad qualified for their very first World Cup, 2 years after their first significant tournament appearance at the European Championship.
Last summer’s finals in France eventually ended in heartache as a gut-wrenching draw with Argentina denied them a place in the knockout phases but, nevertheless, it was seen as the peak of the nationwide team’s accomplishments to be mixing it with the world’s best.
Nevertheless, there are lots of whose devotion, perseverance and talent laid the foundations. Women whose sacrifices for many years had actually gone mostly unrecognised and appreciated in the shadow of the guys’s game.
In the most recent instalment of our National Treasures series, BBC Scotland looks at five gamers whose contribution altered the face of women’s football north of the border.
Helen Matthews Graham
Most will not have heard of the Montrose native who established the UK’s extremely first women’s football team at the age of 23.
The goalkeeper was a suffragette and advocate for women’s rights in Victorian times, when players often needed to gather in secret on makeshift pitches utilizing hidden identities. They wore blouses and bloomers.
However Graham’s mark in the history books is perhaps not as prominent after 2 games with England in 1881 went awry. Papers reports described the opposing sides in the very first match at Easter Road on 9 May as “really wisely dressed”, including the “Scotch team wore blue jerseys, white knickerbockers, red stockings, a red belt, high-heeled boots and blue and white cowl”.
After beating the English – led by Nettie Honeyball – “Mrs Graham’s XI” were summoned for a rematch a fortnight later on at Glasgow’s Shawfield however mayhem ensued, with numerous fans attacking the pitch and the gamers and authorities needing to run away.
Graham moved down south after the video game in Scotland was prohibited.
A story fit for the cinema. In the 1970 s, the teen from Stewarton in Ayrshire was drawing in attention for her goalscoring – but opportunities to earn a living in the video game as a ladies did not exist. Reilly left her homeland aged 17 for French side Reims.
There, she caught the eye of scouts and was signed by A/C Milan, who she assisted win every accolade offered. The striker bet nine Italian clubs over 20 years, winning 8 Scudetti and 4 Italian Cups.
A star in her adopted nation, and banned for life from betting her own, Reilly captained Italy to the informal Women’s World Cup in 1984 and was called world player of the year.
She ended up being the very first lady to make a location in the Scottish Football Hall of Popularity and in 2019 the Scottish FA belatedly made moves to acknowledge her contribution, awarding her the 10 caps she had actually made in a Scotland jersey.
Neillis died, aged 62, a year prior to the 2017 Euros, so did not get to see the culmination to what her generation had set in movement.
A gifted, technical ideal winger from Ruchazie in Glasgow’s east end caught the eye of Celtic employer Jock Stein, and was often compared to Jimmy Johnstone with her skill and mop of red curls.
Together With Reilly, Neillis was part of the first official women’s match against England in November 1972 after a 50- year ban on ladies playing on league premises was lifted.
The 2 played together at both Reims and AC Milan, scoring all three goals between them in the 1975 Serie A title decider prior to going on to add the cup. Neillis won the latter two times more with Gorgonzola before retiring in 1990.
The Swede’s 12- year period as Scotland manager ended after Euros2017 As midfielder in her younger days, she began training at 21 and would replace Vera Pauw as Scotland head coach in 2005.
Signeul – who oversaw 164 games – also coached centre-back Kerr towards completion of her Scotland playing profession, in addition to the similarity Scotland’s most capped player Gemma Fay, and Olympians Kim Little and Ifeoma Dieke.
She is now training Scotland’s upcoming Euro 2022 certifying challengers Finland.
With 116 objectives in 121 caps and eight years as captain, Fleeting is Scotland’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Starting her journey at Ayr United Ladies, the striker ended up being the very first Scot to sign expertly in America after being recruited by San Diego Spirit.
After 2 seasons in California, she also included for Ross County, Icelandic side Valur and Celtic. She is finest remembered for her eight glory-filled years with Toolbox Ladies, for whom she netted 300 times and won the FA WSL, 7 FA Women’s Premier League titles, 5 FA Women’s Cups, three FA Women’s Premier League Cups and the Uefa Women’s Cup.
At one point, the PE instructor was investing her weekends driving from her job in Inverness to London for Toolbox matches. The mother-of-three also made journeys abroad to represent Scotland with a child in tow.
The Scottish Hall of Popularity inductee finished her profession alongside her fellow Scotland stalwarts Leanne Ross and Joanne Love at Glasgow City and is a now a regular football expert on BBC Scotland.