Comment: Forget brawl and celebrate women’s football success

Joelle Murray has been a role model as captain of Hibs Ladies
Joelle Murray has been a role model as captain of Hibs Ladies
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One international rugby star once mused that he knew the exact moment when his sport had broken into mainstream popular culture.

It was when its star players started appearing on the front page of newspapers for their misdemeanours rather than just on the back page for their sporting performance.

There is of course no excuse for the behaviour witnessed at the derby match between Hearts Ladies’ and Hibs Ladies’ development teams. Passions will always run high when you are playing sport, especially among young players who are pushing themselves to be the best. But every young footballer has to learn self-discipline and respect for their opponents and referees.

Anyone involved who the book thrown at them by the SFA can have no complaints.

It is ironic something like this should happen when the professional women’s game has earned an enviable reputation for sporting behaviour. Games are rarely blighted by the same level of gamesmaship and abuse of referees so regularly seen in the men’s leagues.

The fact the incident has raised so much interest is a measure of the progress that has taken place in the women’s game. It now has a higher profile than ever - for all the best reasons - and that should be celebrated.