The recent appointment of Rangers midfielder Tessel Middag to the PFA Scotland management committee has been warmly welcomed by chief executive Fraser Wishart. The former Dutch internationalist brings a wealth of experience, having played at the highest club level in four different countries despite two anterior cruciate ligament injuries.

“I was added to the committee to represent the women’s teams in SWPL 1 and 2, and to make them aware of some of the issues that are at play in the women’s game,” the 30-year-old said. “It’s a useful and fun way of spending my time away from Rangers.”

Middag is one of eight members – and the first woman – on a committee chaired by Hibernian’s Michael Devlin. Wishart wants more women players on the committee over time, and says Middag has already made a huge impression.

“Men are still learning about women’s football, myself included,” the former Motherwell, St Mirren, Rangers and Hearts player admitted. “Tess has been to one meeting and settled in very quickly. Before that she was very active as our Rangers women’s team rep and it made sense to bring her knowledge to the management committee. I’m very impressed by her interest in, and care for, other players.”

Wishart says female membership of PFA Scotland has rocketed since Covid restrictions were lifted, allowing the union to talk directly to players at their clubs, rather than on Zoom. There are now around 100 female players in Scotland on professional contracts, but union membership is double that as PFA Scotland have introduced an amateur category to recognise the embryonic nature of the women’s game.

As far as the pro players are concerned, Wishart says they are entitled to exactly the same employment rights as their male counterparts.

“People sometimes think equality is all about money, but it isn’t,” he said. “Training facilities, where women’s teams play their games, medical back-up – it’s often still very basic.

“ACL injuries are also far more prevalent. These are the things we need to know as a union so we can work out how best to address them. Even small things like not wearing white shorts – as a man I wouldn’t have thought of that.”

Wishart, like his predecessor Tony Higgins, is on the board of the international players’ union FIFPRO. They have been instrumental in fighting for equality, and thanks to their efforts maternity rights are now enshrined in football as they are in other workplaces.

FIFA introduced them in January 2021, and later that year FIFPRO helped ex-Lyon player Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir raise a landmark case against the French club. The outcome was announced this year, with Lyon having to play Gunnarsdottir, who is now at Juventus, her due full salary of £72,000 plus interest.

FIFPRO have also been responsible for helping national footballing unions secure better deals for their women’s teams. PFA Scotland have been representing Rachel Corsie and her international team-mates in their collective bargaining with the Scottish FA since 2017.

With current negotiations having reached an impasse, a preliminary employment tribunal hearing has been scheduled for May 24-26 in Glasgow. It promises to be an eventful week for the SFA, who host the Scottish Cup final between Celtic and Rangers at the end of it.

MONTROSE could be SWPL 2 champions this afternoon. The league leaders are away to bottom club East Fife – and three points would take them over the line with four games remaining.

Montrose, who won Championship North last season, will bring stadium value to the top flight, as well as a better geographical spread, as Links Park is a far better facility than most of the existing SWPL grounds.

Manager Craig Feroz remains hopeful that his side will upgrade to a semi-pro format in some form next season. He knows it is necessary, because the huge gap between the two divisions has been illustrated by Glasgow Women’s chastening experience – they have lost all 26 league games and will almost certainly be relegated today.

CELTIC’S announcement that their SWPL match against Glasgow City on May 11 will be played at Celtic Park is a welcome development.

Depending on how results unfold – and in particular their game against Rangers at the Excelsior on Thursday night – the encounter between the current top two could go a long way to determining who wins the title.

If that remains the case, there is the potential for a league record crowd in front of the Sky Sports cameras.