Caroline Weir is in no doubt that women’s football in Scotland need to keep playing certain games at Hampden Park – even if the national stadium has far more empty seats than occupied ones.
Around 1,500 fans at each of the Scottish Cup semi-finals is a tiny percentage of what the ground can accommodate.
I’m on the other side of the argument.
First of all, as an athlete, I’d always rather play in a smaller venue that was close to full than a bigger and more iconic one that people were rattling about in.
For me, it’s like concerts.
You only book a stadium if the demand is there, otherwise you hire an arena. And if you can’t reasonably expect to get close to selling out an arena, you book somewhere even smaller.
The first Women's FA Cup Final to sell out Wembley Stadium 🙌 pic.twitter.com/zUT0YCKreA
— GOAL (@goal) May 14, 2023
In English football, all the games that go to the likes of Wembley, Old Trafford and the Emirates are switched because the crowds will justify it.
I was at one of the European Championship games and it was a brilliant occasion.
Growing the game steadily
There’s nothing wrong with growing women’s football in Scotland at a steady pace.
The climax of the SWPL on Sunday will be a brilliant showcase for the sport.
Having three teams in with a shout of winning the league on the last day is everything the marketing people could ask for.
I’ve seen plenty of publicity in the media and I’m sure the excitement of the day will raise the profile of the game even further.
But don’t become fixated on the idea that just because the men’s game sees all the big semi-finals and internationals played in big grounds, the women’s game needs to do the same.
Robert MacIntyre is the only Scot in the USPGA Championship this week so it goes without saying that we want to see him do well and hopefully even contend.
But the fact that he’s donating money to Doddie Weir’s foundation for every birdie and eagle he posts will make the cheers even louder back home when one of his putts drop.
— Robert MacIntyre (@robert1lefty) May 17, 2023
It’s not going to be easy to get a lot of them on a tough Oak Hill course.
Hopefully, though, it will help inspire Robert to get his season kick-started and push for a place in the Ryder Cup.
My Etape cycle went well on Sunday.
I was pretty happy with my time of under five-and-a-half hours.
Like the London Marathon, you really start to feel it near the end, but the spectacular Highland Perthshire scenery certainly helps takes your mind off the tired legs.
I thought I knew the area well but there were times when even I didn’t recognise where I was.
Etape Caledonia 2023 – 5.23.58 🚲
85 miles of stunning countryside, which I’m lucky I call my homeland 🥰
and even the wet weather and nasty climbs didn't kill the vibe!🏔️
Thank you for a great day and having me start @EtapeSeries
Fulled by @OTESportsGB 🥤#etapecaledonia pic.twitter.com/qpYciNhzER
— Eve Muirhead OBE (@evemuirhead) May 14, 2023
It truly is a special, special part of the world which I’m lucky to call home.
The new challenges aren’t over yet though!
I’m heading across to the Netherlands this weekend to take part in a fitness training-based race.
It’s called Hyrox (a bit like CrossFit) and brings a competitive element to the sort of gym work I’ve always really enjoyed.
The way things are going just now, I’ll need to make a curling comeback to get a rest!