Last weekend Scotland faced Sweden in what was a crucial tie in their World Cup 2015 hopes. Unfortunately for Scotland and those in attendance at Fir Park it was not the result everyone had hoped as the visitors came away 3-1 winners.
But despite the loss a certain group of fans still came away with a smile on their face. That’s because some of the players at Bayside Girls and a number of other girls teams got the rare opportunity to play on the pitch at half-time.
One mistake though meant that Bayside got an extra special treat. David Noble, Bayside Girls U9’s Head Coach explains “Well, we ended up in the wrong stand during the first half. With the clock 'counting down' to half time, we had to get special clearance to cross behind the Scotland goal to the other side of the pitch.”
“We then had to nip through the media room at Fir Park and the girls got their photo taken at the interview board! They then stumbled upon Indi Cowie, who recognised them from her visit to Fife earlier in the week - it was hugs all round and more photos.”
Thankfully Bayside’s players did make it on to the pitch and they got their chance to shine on the same stage as idols such as Kim Little and Champions League Winner and Sweden forward Lotta Schelin who they had witnessed playing only minutes before.
The opportunity to participate on the pitch came through the work of the Scottish FA as David explains “As a club, we always plan to attend the WC and Euro qualifiers. Staff at SFA East are very pro-active in generating interest in these games and in assisting girls players to attend and get involved.”
While for most who participated it was their first experience playing on a professional football pitch with hundreds of fans in support, for one Bayside player it wasn’t. David said “We had girls aged 6 - 9 on the pitch. One girl had played at the Glasgow City versus Arsenal Champions' League game and took everything in her stride. The others were experiencing the thrill for the first time. They loved the game against Hearts, especially the support from the crowd in the East Stand.”
David now hopes the players will use the experience in the future saying “I think that they see how big the game is becoming and they can aspire to greatness, recognising that this is possible in Scotland as well as in Sweden and the USA.”
While Anna Signeul’s team put the result to the back of their mind defeating Northern Ireland days later, it’s not a day any of these young girls will want to forget any time soon.
Highlights Video (Courtesy of the Scottish FA East Region)