Kevin Costner fans will remember the ‘if you build it they will come’ mantra from the cheesy 1989 movie Field of Dreams.

For ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson and Archie ‘Moonlight’ Graham, substitute the ghosts of yesteryear in women’s football into their own Fenway Park as they get the chance to play games inside proper stadia.

Last month Ibrox hosted Rangers v Celtic while Celtic announced on Friday afternoon that Celtic Park will host SWPL games against Hearts and Hibs in April and in May. 

Last year Celtic knocked the record SWPL attendance out of the park with a crowd of 15,822 for the last game of the season last May as they missed out on their first title by minutes. Across the city, Rangers had just under 10,000 inside Ibrox for their game against Glasgow City on the same day as the Petershill side clinched the Championship. 

And when it comes to growing the game and sustaining the interest that the Scottish women’s game witnessed towards the frantic end of last season there is a strong argument to suggest that the more commonplace it becomes to play games in the natural home of the club, the better it is for the growth and development.

The obvious body of evidence for such an argument would come from Arsenal. For the first time in its history, this season the Emirates sold out 60,000 tickets for back-to-back WSL fixtures as they took on Manchester United and then Spurs. It came following last season’s sell-out for the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-final against Wolfsburg. A decade earlier the same fixture had attracted a sparse crowd of 1,406.

But while other clubs may look at Arsenal and aim to emulate just how they have achieved such numbers, the bottom line is that it has not been a quick return from a recent investment.

Back in the 1990s when David Dein proposed that Arsenal set up a women’s team, people questioned whether or not he was being serious. They asked if it was a publicity stunt.

This week at a Women in Football event, Dein suggested that “owners have to show bravery, commitment and vision. They have to speculate to accumulate…when Arsenal played Chelsea at the Emirates three years ago, there were 8,000 people. Now there are 60,000. You’ve got to be brave, be bold!”

The point is that Arsenal are now on the cusp of reaping the rewards of an investment and initiative that has been 30-odd years in the making. It has not been an overnight success.

Crucially, they have stuck with it. Even when there were small attendances at the Emirates. They have shown a faith and a longevity to invest in their women’s side with a belief that it would be a slow burner.

What they are witnessing now is the success of that belief. In Scotland, Glasgow City deserve enormous credit for the vision that brought about their very formation simply because at the time so few male teams offer female pathways, female coaching, female academy structures. 

But even now there remains a suspicion that for many clubs their women’s side is there for the optics rather than for any serious investment or promotion. 

To that end it remains so important that there is excitement and intrigue in what happens in the league. This afternoon Celtic host Rangers – and there is a definite argument to say the teams play one another too often – with Jo Potter’s side in the position of going seven points clear with a win.

Glasgow City and Celtic, level on points, could cut the gap to just one point with wins. City will be keen to mop up anything that gives between the two as they take on Hearts in Edinburgh.

Last season as Fiona McIntyre was followed by Sky Sports cameras as the title was in the balance until the closing minutes of the season, there was a captive intrigue in the women’s game that hadn’t been seen before.

That excitement can only benefit the profile of the league but all clubs have their part to play in ensuring the game is moving in the direction it should.


For the first time in 23 years the Women’s Scottish will witness semi-final ties that do not include Hibs or Glasgow City.

From 2003 until Celtic’s win in 2022, the duo shared ownership of the competition with no other team touching the trophy, with only Covid’s intervention ending their dominance for a couple of seasons.

It seems indicative of the changing landscape within the Scottish game that what were the dominant forces within the Scottish game are now on the outside looking in as they latter stages play out.

City remain firmly alive in the title fight as they look to retain the Championship but there is no ambiguity about the changing shape of the game. 


Emma Hayes caused quite the stir this week when she suggested that it was “inappropriate” for intrasquad relationships to take place. She also spoke of her unease around player-coach relationships. It is difficult to argue on either front. 

In women’s football, player-player relationships have not been entirely uncommon with a number of high profile relationships. Arsenal's Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead might be the most obvious example while Chelsea’s Sam Kerr also dates West Ham’s Kristie Mewis.

As the game becomes more professional there needs to be a separation of private lives with working lives for fairly obvious reasons.