FRIDAY was the 50th anniversary of the first-ever Scotland women's international, a 3-2 loss to England at Ravenscraig Stadium in Greenock. On Monday, in considerably warmer conditions in Cadiz, the 370th was completed with a 2-1 win over Venezuela. 

Football historian Andy Mitchell has painstakingly compiled a record of all these games, which means that, for the first time, there are accurate statistics for the national team.

“The (Ravenscraig) anniversary prompted me to research the history, a subject which appears to have been woefully neglected by the football authorities and the media in the past,” he said. “There are no match reports for many of the games.

“Allied to poor record-keeping by the old Scottish Women's FA, and a lax attitude at the Scottish FA after they took over in 1997, many players have been forgotten and those records and statistics which have been published are frequently wrong.”

Mitchell has established that the stats for two of the national team's all-time greats are not quite correct. Jo Love is credited by the Scottish FA as being Scotland's most capped outfield player with 191 appearances, but according to Mitchell the accurate figure is 189.

Similarly, Julie Fleeting has been widely quoted as having 121 caps and 116 goals. The correct figures, Mitchell has ascertained, are 118 and 110, but even if marginally less, her goals-to-games ratio remains truly astonishing, just as two less games doesn't in any way diminish Love's record achievement.

It also cuts both ways in the case of Fleeting. Earlier this year UEFA put out a story stating that the Ayrshire phenomenon was their all-time leading World Cup qualifying goalscorer with 32. Mitchell spotted they had missed a goal against Spain in 1998 – and UEFA acknowledged the error, changing the total to 33.

With qualifying for the 2023 tournament now completed, Fleeting remains ahead of Tessa Wullaert (Belgium, 32) thanks to Mitchell's research. Both she and Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands, 31) had threatened to overtake the Scot's total.

In a similar vein, other Scotland players should have more caps than the official records acknowledge. And some of these lapses didn't happen in the foggy, haphazard past, but far more recently.

Rangers left back Nicola Docherty, for example, should have one more cap than the 38 on the SFA website. A substitute appearance against Chile in 2013 wasn't recorded and Mitchell had to study video footage to confirm he was correct.

It is still happening. At the time of writing Emma (formerly Mitchell) Mukandi and Christy Grimshaw hadn't been credited with coming on as extra time substitutes against Austria last month and so are both missing a cap.

Now that women's football is mainstream in many countries the need for accurate data is even greater. Mitchell wants to take it a step forward by introducing unique heritage numbers for every man and woman who has played for Scotland.

Rangers winger Brogan Hay and Hearts midfielder Rebecca McAllister, who made their debuts as substitutes against Venezuela, brought the women's numbers up to 243 and 244.


SOMETHING will have to give when Glasgow City and Rangers meet at Petershill Park this afternoon. Both have maximum points from their opening nine SWPL games.

Rangers are defending an even longer run. They were unbeaten in 27 games when winning their first-ever league title last season, and their last SWPL defeat was a 2-0 loss to today's opponents on June 6, 2021.

What sets Rangers apart from title rivals City and Celtic is the depth of their squad. They have yet to concede a goal in their twelve domestic games this season and, underlining that depth, both goalkeepers represented their countries in the run-up to today's game.

Jenna Fife was given a rare Scotland start ahead of City's Lee Gibson against Venezuela, while summer signing Vic Esson captained New Zealand and saved a penalty in a 1-1 friendly draw against South Korea in her native Christchurch. Esson has been preferred in Rangers' big games so far this season.

City, who beat Celtic 2-1 before the international break but then lost by the same scoreline to Hibernian in the semi-final of the Sky Sports Cup, have lost just two goals in the league themselves. Their No 2 goalkeeper, Erin Clachers, was taken to Spain by Scotland for experience and is also given a lot of game time by City.

Rangers have another huge match on Saturday, when they play Celtic at Broadwood. It had been speculated that it might be played at Ibrox and be the first live Scottish women's game on Sky Sports, but a Rangers spokeswoman said pitch works are being undertaken during the Premiership hiatus.