"Unbelievable" Spartans star gets full praise from manager after hitting milestone

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“Remarkable” Ronaigh Douglas reached 200 appearances for Spartans on Sunday as Debbi McCulloch insists that she is an example to all young girls.

The versatile defender has been at the Edinburgh club since she was five years old and progressed through the ranks before bursting into the first-team picture when she was 15. Since then, Douglas has become one of Spartans’ most important, trusted players and is easily one of the first names on the team sheet. After last Sunday’s appearance against Partick Thistle in the Sky Sports Cup, she became the latest player to hit a milestone at the Edinburgh side, with McCulloch citing the 24-year-old’s achievement as “unbelievable”.

“It is fantastic, Ronaigh [Douglas] is one of the most underrated players in our league,” she told the Edinburgh Evening News. “She has made a fantastic contribution to this club and the growth and development of women’s football. With a player coming through our academy structure from five years old to reaching 200 appearances at the top level of Scottish Women’s Football.

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“She is only 24 years old so it’s a remarkable achievement, wow, unbelievable. I’m delighted for her and really thankful for her loyalty and commitment for such a long period of time. On her social media channels, you can see that she is Spartans through and through. She has really proven her worth over the years and become an instrumental player for myself, and the team for several years now.”

The journey Douglas has undertaken is nothing short of sensational. To remain at a club for almost 20 years shows true loyalty and that has now been rewarded by reaching such a milestone at just 24 years old – a record that may never be beaten.

Douglas now embodies what it is to be a Spartans player and, so far this season, she has easily been one of their best players. From playing full-back to, more recently, a CDM role, Douglas never disappoints with her performances and is consistently consistent. With many girls coming through the ranks at Spartans, McCulloch insists that the 24-year-old is an ideal role model for them to look up to if they want to one day reach the heavy heights of SWPL football.

“She has been a regular now for the past nine years, it’s unbelievable,” McCulloch added. “I don’t think we will see that again, a player starting their SWPL journey at 15 years old and then reaching 200 appearances at her young age. It’s a credit to her as a footballer and as a person. There have been moments where she has had to be resilient, and push through and she has always given 100% for the club.

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“In terms of the girl's academy, you can’t believe it unless you see it. Ronaigh [Douglas] is a fantastic example to all of our girls in our academy. If you work hard and get your head down, then there are opportunities here and those opportunities can last a lifetime if you want them to.”