Kezia Dugdale: Uncovering the next five-goal cup hero
What a stunning victory for Hibs Ladies in the SWPL Cup.
A crushing 9-0 win over Celtic ensured the team picked up the trophy for the third year in a row.
I’m particularly delighted for Lizzie Arnot, who has only just returned after a year out with injury. Just the five goals for her in the final. Incredible.
The league games continue over summer and, with Hibs currently sharing top spot with Glasgow City, it promises to be an enthralling race to the finish between the two cities.
The popularity of the women’s game across the UK has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. While we’ve some way to go before we match the US, international tournament matches are shown on the BBC, attendances are on the increase, and some players like Steph Houghton have become household names.
We have female referees and female commentators, although I’d like to see more women as studio pundits on TV. The Soccer Saturday show on Sky Sports, fronted by Jeff Stelling, could surely do with a shake-up of the stale line-up that includes five men cracking jokes every week.
But the most important thing is to encourage participation among women and girls.
There are 28 Girls’ Soccer Centres in Scotland for girls aged from five to 12 with weekly active sessions. In Edinburgh, the Joelle Murray Soccer Centres can be found at Forresters Community Sports Hall and Spartans Community Football Academy.
I hope we can uncover the next Lizzie Arnot or Joelle Murray right here in the capital.