JUST as last Sunday proved to be the end of Glasgow City's 14-in-a-row title domination, today's eight SWPL matches also mark a changing of the guard. They are the last under the auspices of Scottish Women's Football.

Congratulations to Rangers, who remain unbeaten following the 0-0 draw against City and will be looking to sign off with that record intact against Celtic this afternoon. The game which decided the title wasn't pretty on the eye, but that mattered not a jot to the home players as they celebrated with their families and partners late into the evening.

“I've been involved in football for a long time, but I'm new to the women's game,” head coach Malky Thomson pointed out. “I'm extremely proud of the players.

“I now fully understand female athletes and how hard it is to pull on a football strip and be put out there and judged. Credit to Glasgow City – it is an outstanding achievement that they've held the trophy for 14 seasons.

“It must have been really difficult for them to let it go.”

The top two divisions will now be run by an SPFL subsidiary company from next season onwards. The challenge for stand-alone women's club City will be to remain a major force in an environment which is inevitably – for good and for bad – going to become a closer fit with the men's game in Scotland.

All 20 clubs involved in the new SPFL set-up will sign a participation agreement on May 25. That will trigger the first annual general meeting, and the election of five club reps to the board on the same day.

The final top league place will be determined today when Glasgow Women, who are second in SWPL 2, host third place Boroughmuir Thistle. The Edinburgh side need to win to prevent their opponents being promoted along with champions Dundee Utd.


I AM not, and never have been, a member of the Scottish Football Writers' Association. Back in the day, women were not allowed to attend SFWA dinners as guests, never mind become members. The architects of this policy are no longer with us, but their rallying cry was: “Nae burdz”.

Not that this was unusual. Some of Scotland's most prestigious golf clubs, for example, refused to accept female members until very recently – although those excluded were referred to as “ladies” rather than “burdz”.

Spending an entire evening in the exclusive company of other men has never been my idea of a good night out, but, more pertinently, the SFWA's policy prevented female football writers from joining their own association. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, I didn't want to belong to a club which discriminated on the grounds of sex.

All this, of course, is a preamble to what, I'm told, was a stream of sexist, homophobic and racist “humour” delivered by one of the speakers at last Sunday's awards dinner. It prompted a walkout by a few individuals, with broadcaster Eilidh Barbour making it a very public issue by sharing her feelings on social media.

That the speaker, retired criminal lawyer Bill Copeland, is apparently popular on the after-dinner circuit suggests there remains a wider audience for his Bernard Manning tribute act. It isn't exactly a glowing reference for his profession either.

However, the episode has had one benefit – it exposed the unacceptable gender imbalance in football writing. A senior News Corp executive recently made clear that there are two areas of the Murdoch empire's print operations – and not just in Scotland – which remain stubbornly male preserves.

One is IT and the other sport.

A speaker such as Copeland wouldn't have been hired if the SFWA was more diverse. And, yes, I'm aware of the irony of stating that as a white male writing about women's football.

All that said, the SFWA is a much better organisation than when I started out, and last Sunday Caroline Weir was voted their inaugural Scotland women's player-of-the-year. But the continuing paltry coverage of women's football is a reflection of totally male-run sports desks.

Last Sunday's SWPL 1 title decider, underwhelming as it turned out to be, was given very little prominence, and less than the subsequent, and truly dire, men's second tier play-off matches between Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Arbroath. It's not difficult to work out why.

Similarly, when Steve Clarke's side qualified for Euro 2020, some in my trade – and broadcasting also – wrongly hailed it as “Scotland's” first appearance in a major championship since 1998. The offence caused is often unintended, but a healthier representation of female executives and writers would end it.