My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
Written for the 2015 Scottish Women’s Cup Final Programme
The history of the Scottish Women’s Cup is a tale of women fighting for the right to play up to today’s state of play where women’s football is getting unprecedented recognition.
The first ever Scottish Cup took place in the 1970-71 season, around the time that women’s football was growing at an accelerated rate. Both UEFA and FIFA were being forced to take the sport seriously, and UEFA would vote to take charge of developing it in 1971, with Scotland the only country (out of 32) to vote against it.
However, just because the vote took place, it was not to say that it was treated with respect. For example, it would take until 1991 for sponsorship to enter the game, despite it being accepted in the men’s game since the 1966 World Cup.
The first team to lift the Scottish Cup are the country’s oldest associated club Stewarton Thistle (now FC Kilmarnock Ladies) who beat Aberdeen Prima Donnas 4-2 on the 18 April 1971. Amongst their team was a unique Scottish footballer, who most likely is unknown to the wider public. Rose Reilly – the only Scottish player who has won the (unofficial) World Cup. She would also win the Scottish Cup in the third season for Westthorn United, and play in the first two English FA Women’s Cup finals.
To make a living from football, she moved first to Reims in France and Milan in Italy. In the 1978-79 season, she would play in Italy for Lecce in the Saturday and France on the Sunday at first. During her club career in continental Europe, she would win: eight Serie A titles, French League once and for Italian Clubs.
Internationally, she played first for Scotland and then for Italy for whom she won the (unofficial) World Cup – despite having no links to the country.
The results of the early years of Scottish Cup finals are hard to track down, but Hutchison Vale and Cove Rangers were amongst the winners during the nineties.
The first final of the millennium saw Stenhousemuir thrash Clyde 9-0 in a match where it was the Clyde keeper Susan Flannigan who was awarded the player of the match. FC Kilmarnock won the next two tournaments: the first beating Ayr United on penalties before beating Glasgow City 5-0.
However, the history of the Scottish Women’s Cup since 2003 has been a story of today’s finalists: Hibernian have won five cups whilst Glasgow City have won seven.
Hibernian triumphed in 2003 after beating Kilmarnock on penalties after the scores were 2-2 after extra-time. It was City’s turn to win next season as they beat Queen’s Park 3-0, whilst Hibs regained the trophy in 2005 after thrashing ex-winners Cove Rangers 8-0.
The two sides have met three times in Scottish Cup Finals with Hibs winning once and City winning the other two. In 2007, Hibs thrashed City 5-1, completing the domestic double after winning the league with a 100% record.
Hibs would make it two in a row by beating Celtic 3-1 after extra time, but since then it has really been the tale of Glasgow City. City have won five of the last six tournaments, with the exception coming in 2010 when Hibs beat Rangers Ladies 2-1.
In 2011, City beat Hibs in the final 3-0 with Christie Murray scoring the opener before Lisa Evans got onto the scoresheet twice. The 2012 final was a tight affair between City and Forfar Farmington with Danica Dalziel’s first-half goal the difference.
The 2013 Final was between Hibs and City, played at Broadwood Stadium, and for a while it looked like it go the distance until the 88th minute when the Hibs keeper Shannon Lynn deflected in a Jess Fishlock corner into her net.
Last season, City won the Cup in style by beating Spartans 5-0 with Fiona Brown and Jo Love scoring twice and Denise O’Sullivan scoring once.