Until now the motto of any female player in Scotland might have been ‘don’t give up the day job.’

Chloe Craig could hardly wait.

A postal worker whose beat was around Glasgow’s south-side streets and up and down the tenements and high flats, Craig is eager to look towards the Hampden steps in a whole new light.

“I choose to work there purely because the times worked for me,” she explained. “It meant that I could go to work, have a break and then go to training rather than going from a full-time job at night straight into training. Now that Celtic is my job it makes life so much easier.

“I would be coming in to training and saying ‘my legs are sore’ and they’d all be asking me what I’d done. I’d be telling them ‘I’ve been walking up and down stairs all day.’ It was hard. I was on the streets in snow, rain, wind…you name it. My beat was in Victoria Road just next to Hampden so take a look – there’s a lot of high flats around there.”

Celtic’s investment into their women’s side will require a significant challenge to the dominance that Glasgow City have had on the Scottish scene.

The appointment of 42-year-old Spanish coach Fran Alonso in tandem with a move towards full-time football will enable the club to elevate the standard within the club while also raising the bar across the Scottish game as a whole.

Celtic open their league campaign at the end of February with a game against Glasgow City, an afternoon that presents an immediate opportunity to lay down a marker.

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“I’ve said this before but last season we took our game to Glasgow City and we beat them,” said Craig.

“That gave us that confidence to give us the belief that we can go out there and challenge the league winners. For us to have that alongside the fact we have gone professional can only enhance things for us.

“We are looking forward to pre-season in Gran Canaria and getting our heads down and looking forward to the season starting.”

Craig has been at Celtic since 2008 and has admitted that she never thought professional football would be on offer in Scotland, a clear reflection of the progress that has been made.

In truth, there remains a significant chasm still to be bridged with English and other European leagues well ahead of Scottish football in their development of the women’s game.

“There’s not a chance [I would have thought this was possible.” Said Stewart. “I would never have seen this day coming. There was nothing ever spoken about women’s football when I started and certainly not going professional. I just hope it continues to grow in the manner it has.

“I was always saying no to people – I can’t go there, I’ve got football, I can’t do that, I’ve got football – football has always been my number one priority. Everything else has always had to be put to one side for football. If Celtic needed me or Scotland or if I was needed for interviews, I would be there.”

And the defender has also insisted that the development of the women’s team has created an inclusivity that she hadn’t felt previously.

“As a club it feels like we are all together, that we are one group and under the one umbrella,” she said.

“It is great to finally feel that. Before I don’t think we had that. Now it feels like one team, one club and we definitely feel that just now.”