Football pioneer Rose Reilly awarded honorary degree

Rose Reilly, right, with Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: SNS
Rose Reilly, right, with Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: SNS
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Former Scotland and Italy international footballer Rose Reilly, who featured in a documentary about her life on BBC Alba earlier this month, has been awarded an honorary degree by Glasgow Caledonian University.

Expelled from her secondary school in Kilmarnock at the age of 15 for disruptive behaviour stemming from always wanting to play football, Reilly now has two honorary degrees. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of the West of Scotland in 2015.

According to a letter confirming this latest honour, the doctorate seeks to recognise Reilly’s “outstanding contribution to the sporting arena of women’s football”. She has been invited to accept the degree at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall in November.

“It’s another ‘wow!’ moment for me,” said Reilly, who was banned sine die by the Scottish Women’s FA for heading abroad to play football in the 1970s. She starred for AC Milan, winning eight Serie A titles and also the unofficial women’s World Cup with Italy, where she gained dual citizenship, in 1983. “From the documentary to Scotland being at the World Cup, everything seems to have just clicked into place,” Reilly, now 64, added. “These are moments that mean a lot to me, many of them belated."

Along with three of her teammates, Reilly recently accepted a special commemorative cap from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for playing in Scotland’s first official women’s international clash v England in 1972. She was inducted into Scottish football’s Hall of Fame in 2007 – the first woman to be included.