THERE was much to enjoy about last Sunday's SSE Scottish Cup final at Tynecastle. Two evenly matched sides delivered a spectacle of attacking and counter-attacking football fit for the occasion.

If the defending wasn't of the same quality it only added to the rapid ebb and flow of fortunes, giving the the record 3123 crowd plenty of value for their money. It was important for this to happen on another milestone day for attendances in Scotland.

With that in mind, and with Hearts now joining Hibernian in SWPL1, the clubs should be looking at utilising Easter Road and Tynecastle for their derby matches next season. And not just holding the games there – but promoting them in the same way as the Women's Super League clubs have done so successfully since the World Cup.

A fortnight ago a record 38,262 turned up to watch Spurs being beaten 2-0 by Arsenal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. On the same day over 23,000 at Anfield witnessed Lucy Graham scoring the only goal for Everton in the Merseyside derby. And of course Caroline Weir was also the match-winner when the previous record of 31,213 was set for the Manchester derby at the Etihad in September.

These numbers couldn't attend an Edinburgh derby in smaller grounds, but why not give it a go and see what transpires? And lets face it, if one of the clubs was to get 5000, the other would try even harder to beat that in their home game.

There will also, obviously, be games between Celtic and Rangers next year. It would be great to see derby matches at Celtic Park and Ibrox also – but when a league game between the sides was played at Celtic Park in 2016, it was all-ticket and by invitation only. This season's game at the Rangers training ground had similar restrictions, again for reasons associated with the men's game.

Getting back to last Sunday's final, the strike from Clare Shine in the last minute of regulation time was fit to win any game. The Irish striker had earlier made the score 3-3 with a powerful header.

The 24-year-old clinched the final for Glasgow City – just as she had in different circumstances four years earlier when her hat-trick was the difference between her side and Hibs.

SHELLEY Kerr hasn't hid her disappointment that there will be no Algarve Cup for Scotland next year. The 12-nation format has been reduced to eight and Scotland are one of seven 2019 participants who haven't been re-invited by the Portuguese – with others, including Germany, returning.

“I'm disappointed we haven't been invited back because the players, myself and all the staff, had a really enjoyable experience,” the Scotland head coach pointed out. “Having said that, we were invited back (in March) after almost 20 years and got in because another team pulled out.”

Kerr doesn't know why the number of nations has been reduced, but it may have something to do with the demands of the professional clubs. Understandably, they don't want their best players being overloaded in international windows. Scotland, for example, played three very competitive games in just five days when finishing fifth in the Algarve Cup this year.

“You have to be mindful of player welfare,” Kerr confirmed. “This year we had to change the whole team for the last game against Denmark.”

A mini-tournament abroad is now the preferred option for the March window, but it won't be in France, where another such competition is being staged.

With the January window having also been taken off the calendar – Scotland went to La Manga for friendlies this year and last – Kerr needs to get games in before the next Euro 2021 qualifiers against Cyprus and, ironically, Portugal in April.

IN an interesting development, Rangers have had the captain of India, Bala Devi Ngangom, on trial. The 29-year-old is a prolific goalscorer with a day job in the police.

Given that factor, and her age, it seems a giant leap of faith for her to consider crossing the world for a semi-pro contract in what is still largely an amateur league. Nor have Rangers stated if the trial has been successful.

What the club are, however, saying is they need to build a really strong squad to “truly compete” next season. With Celtic sharing that aim, both clubs will have to look beyond the limited player pool in Scotland.

It is now over a year since the news was leaked that Celtic will go full time in 2020. That being the case, an announcement of their plans must, by definition, be imminent.