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Scottish Women’s Football Awards: Ceremony celebrates spectacular season as game goes from strength to strength

The stars of women’s football in Scotland, from grassroots to the top flight, have been celebrated at a glittering awards ceremony in Glasgow.

The MG Alba Scottish Women’s Football Awards at the city’s Hilton hotel on Saturday night honoured the players, coaches and personalities who have helped the game continue on its upward trajectory.

The night saw the inaugural Val McDermid Award presented to Tyler Rattray, who led the former Raith Rovers Women team in severing links with the club after the signing of David Goodwillie.

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In a video message, McDermid said: “From my point of view, there’s only one possible candidate for this inaugural presentation of this award and that’s Tyler.

“She’s been a captain, a leader, she has been brave and steadfast and the solidarity that she led from the women’s team has caused a new uprising of McDermid Ladies who stand on their own two feet – or 22 feet I suppose – and have come through this storm stronger and more positive.

“I’m really proud to be associated with the team and Tyler has shown how the skills you learn on the field of leadership and solidarity and bravery can map onto your life as well.

“I think all of the women involved in McDermid Ladies have shown staunch support for each other throughout this and that’s what we need to have going forward – the solidarity and sisterhood that helps us support the women’s game and also the fight against violence against women and girls.”

Rattray, who received a standing ovation as she made her way to collect the award, said: “I’m absolutely chuffed, obviously I didn’t expect it. It’s an honour to have even been voted for the award never mind given it.

“It’s the first time me and the team have been at a Scottish Women’s Football Awards and a part of the women’s football community so we’re all happy to be here and get a night out together.”

The SWFA judges said: “There could only have one winner of this special award. Tyler Rattray’s leadership and brave, steadfast resolve in confronting Raith Rovers’ appalling decision is an example for us all.”

The Sunday Post sponsored the Volunteer of the Year Award, which went to Mhari Lindsay. She juggles her IT job with North Ayrshire Council with her role as club director of Cumnock Junior Girls FC.

A coach, player, mentor, psychologist, fundraiser and businesswoman, she is also a beacon of hope for any young girl in Cumnock who wants to play football.

She said: “My family, my close friends, they are always telling me I need to slow down but there isn’t a chance, not when I am responsible for organising strips and training kits and referees and pitch hire and coaching rotas.

“I am in about 20 WhatsApp groups as I try and stay on top of it all, so the phone just pings all day long.

“I couldn’t do it without the support I get from them and from all the coaches and all the volunteers. They are phenomenal and all want the best for these kids.

“At the awards I was thinking of Eric Bennet who was the chair of the Cumnock Community Enterprise and who passed away at the start of the Covid pandemic. He was a key figure in helping me start this for the girls and funded our first balls and first set of kits. He remains someone whom we are very proud of and who we miss every day.

“Without him, this would not have been possible.”

Motherwell captain and BBC pundit Leanne Crichton was presented with the Kat Lindner Award for Outstanding Athletic & Academic Achievement, named in honour of the German-born former Glasgow City player who died suddenly in 2019.

“Kat was an incredible human being and incredible footballer but also academically she inspired a generation without knowing that she was inspiring everyone,” Crichton said.

“The way she went about her business, she was really quiet, determined, dedicated and honest. It’s incredible that we have this award in her recognition.”

Glasgow City star Priscila Chinchilla was named as SWPL1 player of the year, the SWPL Team of the Year award went to SWPL1 title winners Rangers, and International Player of the Year went to Chelsea and Scotland star Erin Cuthbert.

In a video message, she said: “Thank you so much for this award, it means a lot to me and to my family. It’s been a difficult year with a lot of pressures and dealing with Covid at the start of the season but we managed to come out of it with a nice [League and FA Cup] double and for me it’s been quite a consistent season.

“I’m really happy to receive the award and hope you all have a great night – and let’s get some success for Scotland as well!”

The awards were hosted by BBC sports presenter Jane Dougall, and there were video messages from musician KT Tunstall and Scottish Women’s Football chair Vivienne MacLaren.

Aileen Campbell, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Football, said of the awards: “As we enter the next chapter of the women’s football story, we are determined to celebrate and champion the women’s game across Scotland so that we keep up that growth and ensure every woman and girl is able to play and enjoy football.

“Our awards ceremony is an important part of increasing the visibility of what we do. We know that with The Sunday Post, we are united by a passion, drive and enthusiasm for women’s football and to ensure that future generations of women and girls know and believe football is, absolutely, for them and by them.”

All the winners

After a thrilling season of football, the Scottish Women’s Football Awards celebrate the best of the best in the women’s game – from players and coaches to teams and special recognition awards.

Aiming to highlight emerging talent and inspire footballers of the future, the winners were announced at the ceremony hosted by sports broadcaster Jane Dougall at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow last night.

Here is the full list of winners:

The Sunday Post Volunteer of the Year

WINNER: Mhari Lindsay, Cumnock Juniors

SHORTLIST: Mhari Lindsay of Cumnock Juniors, Scott Bland of Drumchapel Utd, Stephen Campbell of Bishopton Ladies, Craig Edwards of Glasgow City

JUDGES SAID: Mhari’s enthusiasm and dedication for providing local girls with new opportunities is seriously impressive.

Park’s Motor Group Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL 1) Player of the Year

WINNER: Priscila Chinchilla, Glasgow City

SHORTLIST: Priscila Chinchilla of Glasgow City, Lizzie Arnot of Rangers, Nicola Docherty of Rangers, Charlie Wellings of Celtic

JUDGES SAID: Priscila has found new energy and improved her overall game to really stand out this season.

Park’s Motor Group Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL 2) Player of the Year

WINNER: Danni McGinley, Dundee United

SHORTLIST: Danni McGinley of Dundee United, Robyn Smith of Dundee United, Cara Henderson of Glasgow Women, Sammy Duncan of Boroughmuir Thistle

JUDGES SAID: United’s side was full of winners and possible contenders for this award, but Danni’s goals at vital times and her leadership shone this season.

Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) Coach of the Year

WINNER: Malky Thomson, Rangers

SHORTLIST: Malky Thomson of Rangers, Brian Graham of Partick Thistle, Fran Alonso of Celtic, Graeme Hart of Dundee United

JUDGES SAID: This was another close call, but the achievement of Rangers’ unbeaten league campaign was a triumph for Malky Thomson.

SPFL Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) Team of the Year

WINNER: Rangers

SHORTLIST: Rangers, Glasgow City, Celtic, Partick Thistle, Dundee United

JUDGES SAID: An unbeaten league campaign amid fierce competition by Rangers just pips Celtic’s cup double in this tight contest.

The Kat Lindner Award

WINNER: Leanne Crichton, Motherwell

SHORTLIST: Tessel Middag of Rangers, Clare Shine of Glasgow City, Leanne Crichton of Motherwell

JUDGES SAID: Leanne’s commitment to building a career beyond her playing days has coincided with her raising the profile of the game and representing women in the media. All this while playing a key leadership role at Motherwell.

Biffa Championship North Player of the Year

WINNER: Aimee Ridgeway, Montrose

SHORTLIST: Aimee Ridgeway, Eilidh Reid and Georgia Carter of Montrose, Teri Skivington of East Fife, Stacey McFadyen of Dryburgh

JUDGES SAID: Montrose dominated this category, but Aimee’s unbelievable goal tally made her stand out.

Biffa Championship South Player of the Year

WINNER: Rachel Howie, Gartcairn

SHORTLIST: Jemma McQuillan of Rossvale, Nicole Cunningham of Gartcairn, Rachel Howie of Gartcairn, Nicole McPhee of Stenhousemuir

JUDGES SAID: Rachel Howie received many nominations, a testament to the high regard in which she is held among her peers.

North East Trophies Championship Coach of the Year

WINNER: Craig Feroz, Montrose

SHORTLIST: Craig Feroz of Montrose, Robert McCallum of Gartcairn, Owen MacKenzie of Dryburgh, Gerry Cummings of Gartcairn

JUDGES SAID: The job Craig has done with Montrose led them to automatic promotion with ease.

Championship Team of the Year

WINNER: Montrose

SHORTLIST: Montrose, East Fife, Dryburgh, Gartcain, Rossvale

JUDGES SAID: Montrose were simply untouchable this season.

Scottish Women’s Football League Player of the Year

WINNER: Rachel Scott, Ayr United

SHORTLIST: Rachel Scott of Ayr United, Julie Melrose of Bishopton, Caron McIntyre of Kilwinning

JUDGES SAID: Rachel Scott is another formidable goal machine whose scoring record should be acknowledged.

Scottish Women’s Football League Coach of the Year

WINNER: Nori Fian, Bishopton

SHORTLIST: Nori Fian of Bishopton, Colin Fulton of Ayr United, Paul Hopwood of Linlithgow Rose

JUDGES SAID: This was a tight category, but Nori has exemplified Bishopton’s ambition to progress.

Avia Signs Scottish Women’s Football League Team of the Year

WINNER: Bishopton

SHORTLIST: Bishopton, Ayr United, Annan Athletic, Motherwell Development

JUDGES SAID: Bishopton have shown a real desire to grow and this is a commitment which was reflected on the field.

SHAAP Youth Team of the Year

WINNER: Millennium Club of Stranraer U13s

SHORTLIST: Rangers U16s, Rangers U19s, Glasgow City U16s Development, Millennium Club of Stranraer

JUDGES SAID: Despite significant geographical challenges, Millennium have provided opportunities to local girls to not only participate, but also win. They exemplify the best aspects of the grassroots game.

sportscotland Youth Player of the Year

WINNER: Mia McAulay, Rangers

SHORTLIST: Mia Scott of Glasgow City, Abbie Fearns of Celtic, Mia McAulay of Rangers, Emma Watson of Rangers

JUDGES SAID: Mia has shown great maturity to excel in a very strong team.

SHAAP Youth Coach of the Year

WINNER: Ross Stormonth, Rangers

SHORTLIST: Mhari Lindsay of Cumnock Juniors, Niamh Russell of Rangers, Ross Stormonth of Rangers, Michael Windram of Musselburgh Windsor

JUDGES SAID: Ross has built a formidable team while also providing the support the girls need to thrive in a high-pressure setting.

MG ALBA International Player of the Year

WINNER: Erin Cuthbert, Chelsea

SHORTLIST: Erin Cuthbert, Caroline Weir, Claire Emslie, Christy Grimshaw

JUDGES SAID: Erin has held her place as a vital cog in a team full of international stars, scoring vital goals and setting up many more on the way to a league and cup double.

The Val McDermid Award

WINNER: Tyler Rattray, McDermid Ladies

JUDGES SAID: This new award, set up to recognise outstanding contributions in challenging inequality, pushing boundaries and promoting our women’s game could only have one winner, with Tyler’s leadership and brave, steadfast resolve in confronting Raith Rovers’ appalling decision an example for us all