A SPECIAL football match between Scotland and England rising stars will take place in Greenock this summer to mark the 50th anniversary of the first official women’s international fixture.
The girls’ under-15s sides will go head-to-head at Ravenscraig Stadium on Sunday 15 May 2022 almost five decades on from the iconic first game between the two nations after the ban on women’s football was lifted at the Inverclyde sports venue in 1972.
The fixture is being organised by Inverclyde Council in partnership with the Scottish Schools’ Football Association and with support from the English Schools’ Football Association.
On hand to officially announce the match were Councillor Jim Clocherty, depute leader of Inverclyde Council and convener of education and communities, Robert Allan, president of the Scottish Schools’ FA, Gillian Duffy, vice-president of the Scottish Schools’ FA and assistant U15s coach, and U15s player and Inverclyde school pupil Millie Paton.
Robert Allan, president of the Scottish Schools’ FA, said: “It’s a great honour for this to take place, especially here at Ravenscraig, which is a ground the Scottish Schools’ Football Association has used in the past and coming back to Greenock again for an international game is a big feather in the cap for both the Scottish Schools’ Football Association and Inverclyde.”
Mark Hignett, chairman of the English Schools’ FA, said: “The English Schools’ Football Association is honoured to accept Scotland’s invitation to mark this very special occasion.
“I know that both countries are quite rightly very proud of the opportunities they provide for girls to play football at all levels and this celebratory event is the perfect way to acknowledge this whilst also marking the 50th anniversary of the first international woman’s game after the ban on females playing football was lifted.
“As an educational organisation, it is highly appropriate that we combine history with sport and we are excited to be involved in all aspects of this occasion, a repeat of the Scotland v England fixture played at Ravenscraig Stadium in November 1972.
“We look forward to visiting our friends from Scotland and jointly celebrating this important anniversary in the hope it inspires more females to play the beautiful game both now and into the future.”
The fixture will form part of a jam-packed summer of events as part of the council’s Meliora Festival, which will also include the iconic Gourock Highland Games, British Pipe Band Championships, Inverclyde Warrior 5k hosted by Inverclyde Leisure and a visual arts spectacular being organised by the Beacon Arts Centre.
Councillor Jim Clocherty, depute leader of Inverclyde Council and convener of education and communities, said: “This is a fantastic honour for both the Scotland girls’ team and also for Inverclyde as a whole to not only be hosting an international match between Scotland and England but to be doing so to mark this special anniversary of the first official international between the sides here at Ravenscraig Stadium.
“It will be an exciting occasion for people from near and far who will be travelling to the area especially for the match and I’m sure it will be an excellent showcase of the incredible talent coming through the ranks of the girls’ and women’s game, including our very own Inverclyde rising star Millie.”
Councillor Ronnie Ahlfeld, Inverclyde’s sports champion, said: “I was actually at that first international match at Ravenscraig and although England won I do remember it well and remember Rose Reilly playing.
“It’s not often Inverclyde has the honour of hosting an international sporting event and I’m relishing the opportunity to return to Ravenscraig on 15 May to mark this important anniversary and to cheer on the next generation of stars.”
Scotland full-back Millie Paton, 14, a member of the U15s squad and a pupil at Clydeview Academy in Gourock, said: “I’m really excited and it’s an honour to be playing in this international match.
“I was very excited when I found out. A bit shocked at first but very excited.
“The talent is really good now all over the women’s game so it will be great to have it on display from both Scotland and England here where it all started.”
Gillian Duffy, vice-president of the Scottish Schools’ FA and U15s assistant coach, said: “It’s really exciting, especially for me coming from Greenock and knowing the history of the game around the area, to have an opportunity for our girls to play a home game in front of my home crowd and the players’ home crowd is just phenomenal.”
The Scotland versus England international at Ravenscraig Stadium, Greenock, on Saturday 18 November 1972 was the first officially recognised match between the nations after the ban on women’s football was lifted.
The women that played that day went on to have varied success and careers in football, the most notable being 17-year-old Rose Reilly, who went on to play for A.C. Milan and win the World Cup with Italy.
It is hoped the that the current group of young women will continue to inspire girls to play football and that one or more of them will also go on to lift the World Cup one day.
The match will take place on Sunday 15 May 2022 at Ravenscraig Stadium, Greenock, with a noon kick-off.
Ticket information will be announced in due course.
For more information about what Inverclyde has to offer, visit discoverinverclyde.com and find out about the Scottish Schools’ FA at scottishschoolsfa.co.uk.
For more information about the first official Scotland v England women’s international match at Ravenscraig Stadium in Greenock, Inverclyde, visit Recognising the Ravenscraig pioneers (fifa.com)