WOMEN were the original football hooligans, a leading Scots historian has found.

Dr Matt McDowell of Edinburgh University has found one of the first reported incidents of hooliganism was between two groups of women fans.

Reported in 1898, a clash erupted after a match between Morton (now Greenock Morton) and the now-defunct Glasgow Athletic.

One woman needed ­medical attention after the fight which was described by local reports as being between mill girls.

McDowell, a lecturer in sport and recreation management, discovered the contemporary newspaper account.

He said: "Women were definitely a part of the real and rhetorical universe of these footballers, despite our necessity to take some of these accounts with a grain of salt."

The report from the Port Glasgow Express and Observer said: "They appeared last night in swarms on Princes Street.

"Shouts of 'Good old Port; dirty Morton' and 'Dirty Port; Good old Morton' were heard all over the place. The Morton contingent proceeded down the Greenock Road, and a conflict ensued about William Street.

"There was a general ­scuffle among the girls and stone stones were thrown.

"One girl was so badly hit on the eye that had to be taken into the surgery of a doctor at hand."

Dr McDowell presented his research at a recent conference arranged by De Montfort University's International Centre for Sports History and Culture in Leicester.