SCOTLAND internationalist Joelle Murray believes the new deal struck by BBC Alba to cover women’s football is a significant step forward for the sport in this country.

The deal, which will see the station broadcast all of the Scottish women’s national team home games plus a number of away matches, both cup finals, six SWF games per year, Glasgow City’s Champions League home games and Scotland’s matches at next year’s World Cup, comes hot on the heels of Scotland’s 2-1 win over Albania on Tuesday which saw the women seal their place at the 2019 World Cup.

And Murray believes this increased exposure is exactly what the women’s game needs in order to boost viewing figures and support for the women’s side of the sport, as well as increase the awareness of the quality of women’s football in Scotland.

“This is absolutely massive,” said the Hibs captain, who has commentated on BBC Alba during her current injury lay-off.

“This is definitely the next step for the women’s game. I’d like to think this will bring a bigger audience to the game and I’d like to think it will also transfer to more people coming to watch games live on a Sunday too.

"This gives the game the platform it deserves. I think quite a lot of people are perhaps still a bit ignorant about the quality of the women’s game in Scotland so for it to be given this platform, it’s going to be massive and will hopefully show a lot of people how good the women’s game is these days.”

Murray has been on the international scene for over a decade and she admits that when she first broke into senior football, she could never have envisioned a day when women’s football would get the exposure it now enjoys.

“When I first began in football, I don’t think there were any women’s games on television, not even in England,” the 31-year-old said.

“This is something that, when I first came through, I don’t think I ever imagined I’d see. So it’s fantastic to see this progress.”

And Murray is hopeful the increased television coverage will not only benefit the current generation of players but will also inspire a whole new generation of girls to get involved in the sport.

“This is huge for little girls who will watch these games on television," she said.

"It ensures a bright future for the next generation of female footballers.

"This allows young girls to see that they can make a profession out of playing football and they can watch players who they can look up to and treat as role models, which is so important.”