IT was a delight to see both manager Shelley Kerr and the Scotland women’s football team recognised at the Scottish Sports Awards in Glasgow. Shelley was deservedly awarded coach of the year, with the players taking accolades in the team of the year category.

For many people, I think there is a sense that women playing football is a new phenomenon, but that isn’t at all true. We can trace the roots of women’s football back centuries, and in Scotland there has been a thriving community for many, many years.

Earlier this year at a lunch in Glasgow, we took time to recognise some amazing women whose stories have largely gone untold. One of the Pioneers in Sport was Helen Matthews, more commonly known as “Mrs Graham”. She shot to notoriety with the British Ladies Football Club – Mrs Graham’s XI and is regarded as the first star of women’s football.

READ MORE: A week of firsts – but women in sport still have a long way to go

Then there was the amazing Elsie Cook who, in the 1960s, managed Scotland, was the inaugural secretary of the Scottish Women’s Football Association, and is still active to this day promoting and supporting women in football. Elsie has some interesting tales to tell about organising football back in the day when there were no mobile phones and no email and transportation to and from games was often in the back of a milk float.

These were happy times for Elsie and the other players and it is this type of activity that takes us to where we are today. Women’s football is not an overnight wonder but the culmination of years of hard work by many unsung heroines.

What we now have to show for this is a team preparing to participate in the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Scotland may have drawn England, Japan and Argentina, regarded as one of the hardest groups in the tournament,

but we can look forward to a summer of hope, good football and some great fun.

So while we sit and shiver through this winter I will be holding on to the fact that it is France for the summer, with Nice, Rennes and Paris on the horizon.