Hibs to commemorate first ever international women's football match

The match took place in 1881

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 6:00 am

A plaque will be unveiled today to commemorate the first ever international women’s football game, held between Scotland and England in 1881 at what is now Easter Road.

It will be unveiled by Joe Fitzpatrick MSP, Minister for Health, Sport and wellbeing, in a ceremony also attended by the national women’s team head coach Shelley Kerr, and Hibs women’s captain and Scotland player Joelle Murray. While there is evidence of women playing football since medieval times, the first documented match to be played using football association rules took place on May 7, 1881.

The teams called themselves Scotland and England, though it is not likely that there was a national selection process.

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An illustration of the first 'British ladies' football match.

The plaque will mark the site of the match, at what was then Hibernian Park, home of Hibernian FC between 1880 and 1891.

The spot now holds the club rooms and car park of the Hibernian Supporters Association.

Ian Young, Chair of the Hibernian Historical Trust, said: “These women were some of the pioneers of Scottish women’s football and we want to get that across.”

One reaon for holding the ceremony now is that the women’s national team competed for the first time in the FIFA world cup this summer.

Joelle Murray said: “It’s absolutely massive, and with women’s football growing so fast at the moment there’s no better time to have a plaque.

“It’s great to see the club supporting this and so many people going along as well.

“I’m proud of the women who played that day - they were pioneers of the women’s game and their passion,

edication and commitment at a time when women’s football was widely looked down upon is admirable.”

The Glasgow Herald wrote in 1881 that ‘a rather novel football match took place at Easter Road, Edinburgh on Saturday between teams of lady players representing England and Scotland.’

The paper reported that more than 1000 people watched the players, who were ‘very smartly dressed’ - the Scottish team in blue jerseys, white knickerbockers, red stockings, red belts and high-heeled boots.

But the report added: “The game, judged from a players point of view, was a failure.”

The Scottish team won 3-0, thanks to two goals scored by Lily St Clair and Louise Cole, and one more by Isa Stevenson and Emma Wright.

Sports Minster Joe FitzPatrick said: “The Scottish Government is a strong supporter of women and girls’ football and I am delighted to help mark this historic landmark in the game at the site of the first ever women’s international football match.

“The national team are excellent role models encouraging women and girls, and men and boys, to play our national game - with participation soaring.

“We’ve come a long way, and it’s fitting that we are able to celebrate the roots of our current success.”