A trailblazing Glenrothes women’s footballer has been tracked down thanks to a Courier reader – and is set to receive a Scotland cap decades after representing her country.
Former Scotland women’s manager Elsie Cook launched an appeal last week to find Shelagh Beveridge.
Shelagh played for the national side in the 1970s but was never given a cap at the time because the women’s game was not recognised by the SFA.
Some of those early pioneers for the women’s game were finally rewarded in 2019 when they received caps from the first minister.
Delight as footballer traced
However, Shelagh was among a small group whose whereabouts was unknown – and so she could not be given the recognition she deserved.
Within days, a family friend – whose wedding Shelagh was a flower girl at – recognised the picture of the then 17-year-old and sent the story on.
After being told Shelagh has been tracked down, Elsie said: “I’ve tried for years and just not been able to find her. It’s amazing to find her.
Recognition for pioneering role
“These lassies so deserve the recognition. We had a mountain to climb, with [women’s] football banned up until 1974 by our football association. Scotland really was still in the dark ages until they reneged.
“These were the first players in 1974 following the ban and they had to overcome so much in their late teens and early 20s after years of being denied.”
Shelagh left Glenrothes to study maths at Edinburgh University, and lives in the capital with her husband.
Now named Shelagh Shoulder, she told The Courier: “It’s lovely to be recognised at long last.
“I was just young then, around 17. When I got chosen to go to Italy I don’t think I understood what a big thing it was at the time. I just wanted to play football.”
Shelagh went on to play hockey at university after playing for East Fife Ladies.
“Every weekend I would play hockey on Saturday and then get a bus back to Leslie to play football on Sunday before travelling back to Edinburgh,” she said.
“When it came to third year I just couldn’t do both, and I decided to continue playing hockey.”
Elsie is now arranging with the SFA for Shelagh to collect her cap in a ceremony.
Shelagh has two grandsons and hopes they might be inspired by her cap and take on football at a higher level.
Recalling the trip to Italy, where the team played in front of 50,000 fans, she said: “It was my first time abroad. I would have been quite overawed I suspect, it was a huge thing.
“I think what I remember most is the accommodation inside the stadium like the training rooms, it was a huge step up from what we’d experienced before.
“I don’t really remember the crowds, I think I shut them out.”