Time was when women’s football drew only cursory crowds. Not any more. More than 18,500 roared at Hampden as the home women’s team beat Jamaica 3-2, smashing the previous best attendance at 4,098.
Now that’s a fraction of the huge crowds that the men’s team has typically drawn. And there were defensive errors that make victory over England in Nice on 9 June no foregone conclusion.
But the sharp jump in support, and the quality of the goals scored by the Scots team – ‘screamers’ from Erin Cuthbert and Caroline Weir – made not only for a winning result but a performance well worth watching.
The jump in attendance is a great boost for the standing of the women’s game. Not long ago, it was struggling to attract 1,000 at international matches. Now there are quality players of evident skill and professionalism.
And never under-estimate the magnetic appeal of victory. While the men’s team has struggled to put on a consistently engaging display, let alone bring forth winning roars from tens of thousands of Hampden throats, who would be surprised if the women’s team builds on its support and seats at the stadium really start to fill?
Much will depend on support from TV networks to give fair coverage. While they are hooked on coverage of regular weekly fixtures, treatment has been less than generous to Scottish rugby.
Fans had to put up with the bizarre arrangement of TV coverage on the Gaelic language channel. English clubs down south enjoy greater TV coverage – and the game grows in popularity.
Here we are hooked on football. But we are also hooked on winners.
And if the Scotland women’s team can sustain its performance with goals of the type scored this week, all will be winners.