‘The establishment is often out of touch’

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AMID all the angst about tackling the sectarian blight on Scottish football, no-one has mentioned the other change we may soon need to make to the language of our national sport.

The discovery that the first-ever women’s football match in Britain was played at Easter Road, in 1881, is forcing us to rewrite the sport’s history books.

But dramatic changes on pitches up and down the city, as well as around the world, may mean we can’t stop there. Is it possible that well-worn terms like “man of the match”, “ball boys” and “c’mon the lads” will soon seem quaintly out of date?

The women’s game is now the world’s fastest-growing participation sport, with grassroots teams springing up across the Lothians all the time.

Our local players are achieving great success too. Hibs Ladies, beaten finalists in this year’s Scottish Cup, are one of the sport’s leading lights. And the four McMahon sisters of Bonnyrigg who are all on course to play for Scotland show just how bright a future there is for the women’s game.

The make-up of who is playing is changing rapidly, but attitudes are slower to alter.

The protest at the complete absence of women, including the hugely talented North Berwick golfer Catriona Matthews, from the shortlist for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year shows that the sporting establishment is often way out of touch with its grassroots.

Greater recognition of women in sport is long overdue. And anyone who watched this summer’s Women’s Football World Cup will tell you that is a good thing for many reasons.

Not least of which is the fantastic sporting spirit in which the tournament was played, with no diving, feigned injuries or badgering of the referee.

The women players put their male counterparts to shame. What better example than them for our daughters, and sons, as they start playing the game.