SWNT Poets Society

Hampden Collection’s Poet In Chief, Jim Mackintosh, launched the SWNT Poets Society on 31 May 2019 to encourage the nation ‘to put pen to paper’ on what the Scottish Women’s National Football Team’s achievements mean to them. This innovative concept created the world’s first National Team Poets Society and supports the beautiful game through the written word ahead of each match played. 

On 19th October 2020, The Hampden Collection announced the appointment of Julie McNeill, as the first Makar of the SWNT Poets Society. Julie is a writer of poetry and short fiction, a football fan and a champion for women in sport. Her work has been published widely and she has two books coming out next year: one a collection of poetry and the other a non-fiction book for children with dyslexia.

Julie McNeill – First Makar of the SWNT Poets Society

As Julie explains, “These women are smashing ceilings and inspiring the next generation of girls and boys to reach for the stars. Football is so much more than a game, it gives us a sense of togetherness, hope and belonging. Something we all need more than ever just now! I am looking forward to reading the poems inspired by our formidable sportswomen.”

Does this inspire you? Submit your poem here and Julie will select the best ones to be posted during the SWNT’s Campaigns, across all our social media channels and published on this page below.

We look forward to reading and publishing the best submissions! See the published submissions below.


Hampden Collection Team

SWNTPOEM53 – A Club Like no Other

Tied by dreams and bonds of blood
in summer sun through autumn mud
from winter snow to the dawning of spring
we’ve goals to score and songs to sing

New players come as old ones leave
and every season we believe
we’ll see silky skills and match winning tackles
as men with whistles raise our hackles

from August till May we know the story
it’s not for riches nor for glory
our badge and our colours with which we’ve been blessed
show a club like no other
the original and best.

By Gayle Smith

SWNTPOEM52 – Equalling The Score

When biology and honesty collide with female physiology
Legs have strength to take the stride and not collapse with shouts of penalty
As if balance itself was an obstacle to overcome

another one…

Well beaten with a dropped shoulders’ attention to position
goal wards strides our surefooted star striker
we hold our breath awaiting a hoped for goal

and she holds hers…

for a micro second eyeing up the goal
well knowing the score is about more than the result
When the women play, we breathe as one in hope

of what’s to come.

by Janet Crawford

SWNTPOEM51 – Strength

Love laugher snotters and tears
Trucking through these uncertain years
Stick together or fall apart
Keeping connected is a work of art

Building relationships and reaching out
Having a purpose or shadows of doubt
Social anxiety and Covid brains
Some things will never-be the same

Gather together with a warm loving heart
This rollercoaster of a journey won’t keep us apart
Human connection changes human biology
We all definitely need a nice holiday

by Norma Martin

SWNTPOEM50 – GoalIE Gloves

Standing, cold between the posts.
Eleven years of tiny muscle, unfused bone.
Daring them to do their worst
You brace yourself to take their kicks
You stand alone.
Skinny arms made Minnie Mouse
by giant goalie gloves,
your ticket to respect.
Although you start to notice now
and so do they,
the budding breast and narrowing waist.
The slender length of neck and gentle clavicle slope.
So you scarf up and pad out,
but cannot hide the pout,
the upturned Cupid’s bow,
the subtle grace of every throw.
An azure flash from underneath each lengthy lash.
Resilient, hard and tough,
You’re one of them for now,
But Sweet, I’ll tell you this-
Your boyish days are numbered
and it won’t be long
before you know what strength is.
The girls team beckons to you.
I know for now that makes you scoff
but womanhood approaches fast.
That’s when the gloves come off.

by Jane Patience

SWNTPOEM49 – Goals

In my day girls watched from the sidelines,
Playing houses and dolls.

The only time boys wanted to engage,
With lassies sports was during kiss chase.

At swimming lessons they made us line up at opposite edges of the pool,
Girls on one side, boys on the other,

Skinny boys and their shivering bones,
Teasing girls newly developing chests,

Mutually humiliated that none of us,
looked like the cast of Baywatch.

You gave up the sports you loved,
If you weren’t considered athletic,

And hoped your breasts didn’t get too big for running,
As you got picked last in PE.

Behind every strong woman,
Is the jeering whispers of men who said she couldn’t,

And a coach who said she could,

A community of mums who said
“Don’t give up” (like we did),

And dads who taught their sons
to pass the ball.

We bounce back,
Like keepy uppy,

Kicking the ba’ against the wa’,
Until it breaks,

Like the glass ceiling,
Some goals are worth fighting for.

By Celia D

SWNTPOEM48 – High fives

Thump! Whump!
My fence and trellis shake.
Not thunder but the lads next-door
playing football. Not playing
or messing about though.
I hear advice. Now curve it!

Pleased, the boys look forward
to impressing pals in the street.
They’ll play keepie-uppy and
score between jumper goal-posts,
chase the ball into parking spaces
before it gets snarled under vans.

Later I see their coach, jump
out of the car, home from her match.
Boots click, her ponytail flicks
as glowing their sister beams.
Laughing she tells me
her team won again.

by Finola Scott

SWNTPOEM47 – Hold The Front Page 

As a new campaign begins
seeds of hope are planted
emerging names are given their colours
and a chance to liven up the squad fresh faces of youth mingle
with the older more experienced
prayers are offered for Jenna and Lauren
that new stars will be born in Scotland jerseys
and a better harvest will be grown this time than last.
those were barren nights when we wilted on frosty evenings
more suited for cups of coffee
and comfort TV
than grinding out results in games
which would have been played earlier
had we not been plagued by events
we could never have foreseen
now a changed team starts afresh
as some less familiar names take the stage
the manager tells the press to hold the front page
there are headlines waiting to be written
and you are the girls to write them.

© Gayle Smith 2021

SWNTPOEM46 – In Mither’s Fit Steps

Sae ye want tae be a fitbaw player
Said the mither tae her lass.
A knock-Kneed bandy dribbler
Kickin a baw aboot the grass.
Weel ah hope yer fine an fit
Takin P.E at the schule.
Yeel need a lot o exercise
Or yeel luik a proper fool.

Huv ye thocht aboot this carefully
Is this whit ye want tae dae.
Cause it’s gaun tae cost me plenty
Tae buy a strip fir hame an away.
Ah’m no the richest o mithers
But ah’ll dae ma best fir you.
Tae help ye be a fitbaw player
An mak yer dreams cam true.

Ah’ll stairt an save some money
An whyle yer at the schule
Ah’ll try ma luck at spot the baw
Put a line oan wi the pools.
Ah’ll even turn oan Radio Clyde
An enter yon cash register.
Tae 61 0 25 ah’ll text an text
Being the biggest ever competitor .

An when ye’ve jined a fitbaw team
Scoring goals intae the net.
When playing loads o fixtures
starring oan the TV set.
Remember me , yer mither
An dinnae dare foirgett
the buit’s that got ye stairted
nearly kicked me intae debt.

by Rose Macgregor

SWNTPOEM45 – This team is for ma daughter

To show her shes allowed to be different .
And to dae the things they said are no for her
Because she’s a her.

This team is for me.
As I remember being telt I hid to wear a skirt to school and that the fitba team wis fir boys
So I played keepy- ups with a netball.

This team is for my Granny who couldny watch her beloved team in the pub , because why would she like fitba?
She wis a wummin!

This team is for all the wee lassies who pull up their socks and punt the ba’ on a cauld dour ,damp Scottish day
and play fae the heart.

This team is for the lassies who score and dae the Hampden run,
imagining the songs that will be sung about them by the Tartan Army, before they head hame to get telt aff fur the state eh them.

This team is fur all the wee lassies who widny be telt that fitba wis just fur the boys
And their dreams coming true tae the soundtrack of Flower of Scotland.

by Laura Carberry

SWNTPOEM44 – The Crowd’s Love Song

Kick it for us,
Those never asked to join the dance,
Who find no friends, who get no chance:
Kick it for us.

Kick it for us,
The unvoiced and the voiceless ones,
The ones whose moment never comes:
Kick it for us.

Kick it for us,
The slow, the ill, the crushed, the lame;
Frightened too far or raised too tame:
Kick it for us.

Kick it for us,
Stoking our fire with every stride –
You bring us strength, you give us pride:
Kick it for us.

Kick it for us
And take us flying up the wing,
Fill us with hope and hear us sing,
Kick it for us.

Kick it for us
And never mind the final score.
We’re here with you, we ask no more:
Kick it for us.

by Abiy Orr

SWNTPOEM43 – Matchday

I am the most sporty in my house
so it goes like this:
When its game day my Mum says:
“Come on we have to go.”
My Dad says:
“We’ve got plenty of time”.
I say:
“We are going to be so early again!!”
Then my Dad jokes to my sister and says:
“You sure you don’t want to come? I know how much you love football.”
My sister grunts:
After the game my Dad says:
“You had better take those filthy boots off before you get in my car.”
My Mum says:
“Remember to put your clothes in the wash when we get home.”
My sister says:
“You are filthy and you stink!”
Soon after we arrive home I get changed, forget what my mum had said and dump my clothes on the floor.

By Maya Halcrow

SWNTPOEM42 – Set the stage

She dusts the dugout
and sharpens the sunlight,
dresses the white lines
with precision and formality.

She showcases the woodwork,
denier of dreams and maker of miracles,
and embraces the centre spot,
the site of all new beginnings.

While the
still ticks
the scales can still tip
and anything is possible.

Imprints and echoes below
do nothing to slow her progress.
Expectation and anticipation
are borne of what went before.

After the frost, a softening thaw
and, in time, once more
we’ll hear the thunderous,
wonderous, fan-fuelled roar.

by Julie McNeill

SWNTPOEM41 – Girls will be girls

Eyes shining with excitement
Pony tails swishing as they warm up
Proud to be wearing their green and white 
Playing the ‘Edina’ way
Having fun
Working hard
Girls will be girls
Playing, winning and growing together 


They go into muddy battle
Sliding, tackling and challenging their opponents
White shorts no longer white
Rosy cheeks with determined stares
They move as one, sharing the glory
Girls will be girls
Playing, winning and growing up together

by Rebecca McLean

SWNTPOEM40 – Inches

These games are won
and lost in inches,
in scuffs and snatches,
trips and pullbacks.
They are tipped by balance.

Plant your feet girls
Raise your heads
and see what you have done
with games lost
and games won.

Our expectations grow
because you made it so.

Tonight, wide-eyed
my daughter watched you play
she dreams of being you, one day.
Her jacket’s
in the wash again,
boggin’ from masquerading
as a goalpost in the mud.

She’s ditched the school skirt
for a Scotland strip
and plasters her walls
with posters of you.

She doesn’t measure
her team in inches.
The mud-splats
and missed shots
bring her back to the centre spot
Where she will rise and fall
and rise again.

By Julie McNeill

(Written by our Makar after Scotland lost 1-0 to Finland ending the dream of heading to Euro 2022)

SWNTPOEM39 – Tynecastle, 23 October, 2020

Four silent stands. No bellows or roars.
No octave-higher ‘Let’s go Scotland, let’s go!’
We’re unheard, unvoiced, watching telly.
The anthems echo thinly, choirless, and fade.

Talk to your plants, it’s said, they’ll flourish.
But will the Flower of Scotland blossom
without vocal willing or encouragement?
Or will the seeds shirk the silence, dormant?

The ‘little white rose of Scotland’ takes root,
pushes into the light, grows stronger.
‘Sharp and sweet’, it ‘breaks the heart’ yet
outblooms the brave red poppy of Albania.

90 minutes on, the white rose looms above
the poppy, which struggles in Scotland’s sour soil.
Our flower is tall and proud and strong,
but how we long to nurture it with our voices.

by David McVey

SWNTPOEM38 – Pressure

When he asks if we’re feeling the pressure,
the answer is we’ve felt it all our lives.

Just the right amount to squeeze a pal’s hand when she is breaking,
to cup a daughter’s face and tell her she’s more than good enough.

The extra hours burning the midnight oil to prove you’re just as smart as them
and to then get up and burn the oil again.

The pressure in your legs when you drive hard towards the goal
determined you will earn your place as the team’s one and only girl

The pressure to look, or feel, or be as they’d expect.
Nothing more and nothing less.

So when he asks if we’re feeling the pressure
of a nation on our backs,
our answer is “Aye”
but we girls know a thing or two about that.

by Julie McNeill

(Written in response to Shelley Kerr being asked if the girls are feeling the pressure before the Scotland V Albania Game. Shelley replied that they are, but that pressure is a privilege)

SWNTPOEM37 – Grief

Talking on about the game,
the details and the mistakes of officials dissected,
the end of the season, an excuse, the real reason

It gave everyone something to listen to as the
youngsters played their sport:
haphazard, skilled, defiant, angry.

‘That’s three bad decisions,
crucial decisions
that were wrong.’

Watch the ball,
in silence that’s what we do,
when life is slow and sad and stopped.

There might not be a whistle,
the game simply end,
with a kick gone awry,
a crowd turning from the pitch.

A solemn and bemused procession home,
the six yard box,
the eighteen yard box,

Children hoisted down from shoulders,
where they once sailed,
left to walk
through a field of cloth legs
that break open to let them through;
heart in mouth
at the loss.

by Gabrielle Barnby

(Orkney, Sept 2019 – This poem was written after the sad, sudden loss of one of the parents who regularly stood at my side, as we watched our children at football training)

SWNTPOEM36 – scotland, our scotland

It’s fair to say we’re all feeling the trudge
no sun-soaked, saltire-draped adventures
in the offing.
That Erin Cuthbert strike at the Parc de Princes
feels like another time, another life,
Our pre-Corona.
Go on!
Heat up the pie
get the colours on,
slosh hot liquid in the homemade Bovril
and treat yourself to 90 minutes of hope.
Goodness knows, we need it. 
Here we go! Can you picture it though?
Silverware glinting in the early evening sun
Shelley Kerr thanking everyone,
Elmslie, Weir and Arnot, arms aloft
crowds crowing and congratulating
in pre-pandemic full-on hugs
and Scotland, our Scotland, arms locked
raising all of us up.

by Julie McNeill


SWNTPOEM35 – Messidhean nam Mòinteach

Aig Hampden na Gàidhealtachd,
chunna mi sàr-sgioba a’ cluich:
Màiri Mhòr eadar na puist
Is Monty Bheag aig an-aghaidh,
‘s mura b’ e gun d’fhuair
Màiri nighean Alasdair Ruaidh
cairt dearg,
bhiodh Cuach na Cruinne
taobh na Bratach Shìth,
le MacCriomain an Dùn Bheagan.

by Aonghas Pàdraig Caimbeul


SWNTPOEM34 – hampden

Nuair a bha mi beag
Cha b’ e Hampden ball-coise
Ach àite furtachd.

Far an robh mo mham
Agus mnathan sgairteil, coibhneil
Comasach, fiosrach,
Ag obair.

A’ chlann a chaidh tro na dorsan sin,
Is iad fhathast susbaint iomadh sgeulachd.
Le gaol.

Agus na mnathan sin, agus a’ chlann,
Nach iad a bhiodh air an dòigh cho mòr
A chlann-nighean, sgairteil, coibhneil,
Fhaicinn air a’ phàirc.

by Màiri Anna NicUalraig

(Do chlann agus do thidsearan Sgoil Hampden)


SWNTPOEM34a – hampden

When ah wis wee
Hampden wisnae fibta
But a sanctuary.

Where ma mam wis
An wimmin – strong, friendlike,
Capable, knowledgeable,

The weans that went through they doors,
Still the subject of many a great story.
Wi love.

An they wimmin, that weans [sorry, 11 years in Inverness],
Wid they no be fair chuffed
Tae see they girls – strong, friendlike,
On the park.

By Mary Ann Kennedy


SWNTPOEM33 – More than Girls

The banner headlines faded away like the sunny days.
when they screamed in large print
of your success.
come summer’s end
fairweather friends went back
to their usual cliques.
speaking only of male heroes,
the press reduced your column inches.
to make more room for the big boys.
yet far from being discouraged you keep on playing.
keep on inspiring future generations,
to do the same.
you are the role models
who show them, football can be
a girl’s game .
with skills as silky as any man,
and tackles which are every bit as fierce.
I hope you know, we are still here .
to cheer you, every step of the way.
we’ll support you
in sunshine and in rain.
our girls, our game, is more than just a phrase.
it’s what you’ve lived
by all the days of lives
since your first game of fives .
so no matter what others think,
whether you’re wearing
blue or pink.
wherever you go
and whoever you play.
you have our hearts
and we’re proud to say,
win lose or draw
you’ll always be our girls.
and not just for 90 minutes
there are no limits to loyalty.

© Gayle Smith 2019



see July out unfinished then
knee slide into this August
long days, short memories
in the sun, then the dark,
hold your heart to the rain
to the beat of time passing
pressing hard, then here
where it still hurts, rubbing
at the blister, the imaginary
knee slide, grass stain, friction
burn, seared into your – Erin
Cuthbert – shapes to shoot
knee slide September into
this one, cheers of G-O-A-L
still believing, breathing her
image in, believing these days
behind closed eyes, wanting
to forget but not forgetting
please don’t forget them/this
business is unfinished – they,
we, go again – now knee slide

by Jim Mackintosh


SWNTPoem31 – What’s Next

Every pass, every save
win, lose or draw, strengthens
the fibres of nurtured hearts,
the momentum unstoppable
on a night of enlightened skies
where all the relevant past
has no need for the charity
of misguided marketing ploys
by the face of disconnect
between a nation still buzzing
from World Cup adventures
and transient suits, out of touch
and irrelevant – so close the door
and let’s watch young buds
blossom imperfect, yet sure
in the hands, in the eyes
of those that care beyond
nets of training balls.

By Jim Mackintosh


SWNTPoem30 – World Cup Elevenses

The wordsmiths of the world
Stand together to proclaim
Women on a stage of Lyon grass
Playing the beautiful final game

French fields have lit up
With hurtling screams of amazing grace
Dancing through world cup dreams
with laughing ferocity rarely ever seen

Blazing trails burn new chapters
in football’s book of history
A pride of Oranje Leeuwinnen stand ready
for the mightiest of Stars and Stripes.

Banners ready, team chosen
The world watches with awe
29 million women players stand proud
Saluting their heroes living the footballing dream

A game rising, who would have thought
All those years ago.
A cup of tea perhaps,
Oh yes please and give me a football
and the Women’s World Cup.

By Graeme Brown



Yesterday, a long time ago
we shared your joy
and felt your pain.

Anytime, from now on
it will be okay to do the same.
We’re signed up.

You fell from scoring highs
to the foetal-curl of loss
and shared your despair
– the pitch was your pillow.

Yet you stood up
in the razor glare
of unforgiving media scrutiny
– a nation’s arm around you.

And standing on a knife edge
wanting be anywhere
you already looked wiser.

‘Don’t give up on your dreams.
I’ve achieved mine.’
– we understood

This wasn’t it.
This was only another milestone.
Erin. We thank you.

By Jim Mackintosh


SWNTPoem28 – Crusaders

In the veins of Scottish words
this night will be fabled.
A French crusade leaving your nation proud.

From the World Cup VAR ashes
the SWNT will rise once again.
Chartered through the mighty boots
of Cuthbert, Little and Beattie!

Kerr’s Pink Army will march onwards,
Euro 2021 in England,
we’ll be coming,
we’ll be coming.

Wembley we’ll be there once again
to take the Cup
and Crossbar home.

By Graeme Brown


SWNTPoem27 – Not Ready To Define It

what do you mean this is it?
it all comes down to this
what is it?
what is this?
it is not it, you don’t decide it
it is what they decide it to be
it is not this, you don’t define this
it is only when they define this
it is only they who decide when it is

so …

keep your Plucky Scots badges in the tin
hold your hard-lines headlines in the draft
stop the comparisons
with 88, 74 and even The Big 78 It


you can shove your condescending ‘you did your best’ hair tousles

They’re not ready to rename Les Miserables to Les Scunnereds – not yet

And even if it were to happen
you and I will not decide this or it.

By Jim Mackintosh


SWNTPoem26 – Dear Football Coach

the trials flyer pinned
to the pock-marked board
beside the inter-school league scores

asks for good ball control.
I use feet, legs, head, and chest
with a clean first touch.

I manage the ball close,
maintain possession
with easy aggression.

I send the ball
to the desired destination
with powerful precision.

I am fluid with long strides,
hold a low centre of gravity
if occasion demands.

I assess the risk-reward,
minimise energy spend.
Play smart, not hard.

I create opportunity
then attack. Force
opponents to backtrack.

I endure stress, fatigue,
and all things adverse.
I move fast in a small space

to win, keep, protect the ball;
perform under pressure
with composure.

I accept defeat without regret.
So tell me why
‘Girls Need Not Apply’?

By Morag Anderson



The team together on a glass ceiling
forcing cracks to appear, fresh air

to they who were stuffed with negatives
& the mocking splendour of dinosaurs

now twiddling their thumbs, spinning
ways to be part of the burst beyond

the upside of the glass, but stop!
– it’s just an act, a deception to impress.

They’ll plummet amidst the murmurs of doubt. Climb on proud ones! Ignore the Shards!

By Jim Mackintosh


SWNTPoem24 – Graft & Skill

to cross the line
is to believe

graft & skill

[can] [must] will

shine the physical
scoff at the illogical

to build mountains
of light
of heart
of passion

step by chiselled step

but what if They had said no
and denied this fresh dawn?

Only the dull weave of silence
from rusting beer cans, empty
of narrow imaginations remains
of this pointless question.

By Jim Mackintosh


SWNTPoem23 – Oor Wummins Team

Wummin’, playing fitba’, naw!
That cannae be, my grandad used to say to me
But a’ telt him, aye they do
Naw son, that wullnae be any guid
But they are, better than the men too
Are ye’ cummin’ tae see fir yersel
Naw son, awa’ ye go, I’m no wasting a couple o’ quid

But if he wiz still alive today
Ah’m sure he wouldnae feel like that noo
When he saw Erin play
Scoring those fabulous goals
And Kim, Rachel and Jenna too
No forgetting Claire, Caroline, Jane
Jennifer, Kirsty, Lisa, Leanne
Fiona, Lizzie, Hayley, Joanne
Christie, Lana, Chloe, Joelle
Lee, Shannon, Sophie, Nicola
Ah’m sure he’d gie them a holla
And hae so much praise fir Shelley Kerr
Who did sae weel tae get them there

Noo, when you see them play
A hope ye gie them a cheer
Just like you’d do for the men’s team
That Ah’m sure these women could beat
We maybe no win the World Cup
But then we kin dream
Noo let’s join Shelley’s army
Gie aw oor support tae oor wummins team

By David McDonald


SWNTPoem22 – The Lioness Rampant

The roaring lionesses have a new mane,
Softer, gentler, yet titanium at its core.
These new pioneers are gallus, yet still know the score.

Physical and emotional turmoil would destroy lesser souls, yet our shirt makes them strong.

They won’t accept second best.
To have them represent us, makes us truly blessed.

By John Young


SWNTPoem21 – Ninety Minutes

Magic, sheer magic the curve of the ball
hitting the net, the cheers, music to the ears
sitting on dad’s knee watching it, raring to play
‘Aye, I’ll make it one day, play for Scotland,’ I say.

‘Not you lass, my son,’ says dad chest wide
eyes bright with hope. Inside me crumbles.
Aiming too high? Doubts rise like a wave,
school, dancing, make up, music, is that my lot?

No, not me, not peely- wally I’m out there
the best keepy- uppy girl, my feet dancing
football flying –me- racing- like my heart
years of hard work with grass on my breath.

Scotland, here I come weaving magic
World cup fever, crowd roars, my feet dance
Dad watches with pride as I smash the first
goal in. I’ve done it, Me, that wee lassie.

By Leela Soma


SWNTPoem20 – Through That You Fought

Dolls are for girls. Balls are for boys.
Through that you fought.
“She’s always been a tomboy”
They apologise for your talent.
Through that you fought.
Your counterpart could buy your house twice a week.
Through that you fought.
And here you are.
Football’s elite
On BBC1! Respect indeed.
Then some bright spark said
“I know! Let’s do a girls’ version of ‘If’!”
Through this, you’ll fight.

By Alastair McIver


SWNTPoem19 – More Respect For Women

For long enough
Us women have suffered from
Football Block

When I was at school
In the 80’s and 90’s
The girls got hockey
The boys got football
I’m so glad it’s different now

Women used to say
“I’m not interested in football”
Probably because they
Didn’t understand The Rules
And were too embarrassed
To ask

Passion for football used to go
Beyond what was comprehensible
For many lassies
But now
I see a bright future
With more couples and families
Going to matches

Couples sitting watching TV
Holding hands
Synchronised shouts of
“Ya stoater!!” or
“OOoh, FOUL!!”
In it together

A bright future where it’s
The Mums who explain
The new offside rule
To their sons, daughters
And partners

Young folk idolising
The Scottish National Team
Rather than
Undernourished popstars

Society will change for the better
Because the Scottish National Women’s Team
Are playing in the World Cup

I can just hear folk comparing
The male and female players
With more respect
Which hopefully will
Trickle into their lives
In other ways

Football is an institution
And no-matter how our girls fare
Society will change for the better
Because more men
Will have more respect for women
It’s another step towards
My ideal Utopia

By Nicole Carter


SWNTPoem18 – Keepie Uppie Daydreams

From playing out wi washing line goalposts,
and keepie uppie triumphs…
well, a count of at least three
I learnt tae pass a baw, and sky it er the bar as I shouted repeatedly
‘Archie Gemmill, whit a star’

In ‘78 I was ten and marched wi Ally gladly, before shedding tears for Argentina
By 12, I’d been promoted tae ball girl, a lucky mascot for the mighty reds… Camelon Juniors
and toured whit seemed the world tae me
each Saturday, another fitba field tae see

When I was wee, I loved the game but that was as close as ye got to playing fitba in the 70’s
It was just a dream tae me, one that was gie remote
Unless the boys let me join their game usually saying, aye there ye go, whilst pointing tae the goals … again

Now nearly 40 years on , I’ve a real team to cheer on
and their dreams I’ll gladly follow
The mighty Scotland Women’s National Team…

Gie it laldy girls, haud yer heids up high,
The pride and joy you’ll bring will roar ye oan, as lassies young and auld watch expectantly,
World Cup fever and hopes of glory will send happiness levels, like yon baw I kicked,
skywards .
Guid luck .

By Janet Crawford



tick-tock, it’s now
the time is today
the game has changed
for good
not just for dreams

today is a birthday,
today is a hurdle, a glass ceiling
shattered, a milestone pushed over
now more than a game,
today matters now

the minutes will fly past, stack up
to become memories stitched
into pockets and softened hearts

Aye, the ‘Telt Ye Man’ is gargling in
the wings, waiting to be proved right
but he can have ‘a fair swipe of shite’
because what matters most
is not the score
well maybe a little
but is everything beyond his nonsense,
his blinkered future, his irrelevant past

the game has changed
for good
for Kerr, Corsie, Clelland, Cuthbert
for all the squad
not just the core folk but
all the girls who now have heroes
to copy, to follow, to become
tomorrow, the polished gems
today matters now

By Jim Mackintosh


SWNTPoem16 – Bravehearts

A tartan tale like no other,
written through the years,
Elsie, Edna and Rose,
one of them won the world cup,
didn’t you hear?

Oh Rose, you are a Scottish legend,
a World Cup, Seria A and Ballon d’Or
Those images are the greatest
but why are there no other Scots,
there to score?

Ah that’s a long, long story
however the answer is very short
we were trapped in a man’s world
but our freedom has been brought.

Many menfolk haven’t managed
what Shelley Kerr has done
Vogts, Smith, McLeish, Burley, Levein and Strachan
they tried often without success,
but we remember them,

Sitting in Hampden’s playground,
Scotland’s Theatre of Dreams
The children chorus and roar,
creaks it at the seams
Kerr’s Pinks Army stride out to hallowed field
Where Cuthbert’s thunderbolt is daringly new,
A father’s daughter cries with joy
screaming “Daddy, that flew”
Another tartan army diehard,
is born Hampden new.

And now we are celebrating,
Scotland has made it through
A pontoon of years
since our last French trip was seen
on a mission to pass the group
and find a place,
Scotland has never been

O Land of Whiskied Thistle,
our bravest lassies are here,
our Girls, are playing our Game,
with the bravest hearts
amid a sea of saltire cheer.

Watching from Football’s heaven
Scotch Professors gather once more
Captain Campbell reminds those English games,
Watson laughs amid gathering cheer
They didn’t see us coming in those days,
victories were our only way,
we are coming to France to find you,
we are coming to support you once more.

Once, we were the Football Kings
teaching the world the combination,
regardless of age or gender,
football shall never again surrender,
the Queens of Football
are here,

Campbell turns to Henry Smith,
asking for a final prayer.
The first Football Poet stands once more:

Go on Scotland,
Helter Skelter,
on you Pelter,

Go on Scotland,
we pray for a Belter,
play out our hopes and dreams.

By Graeme Brown


She being the tomboy of the team,
And so an actual girl, can’t go
Out of school bounds to play with us.

The boys can go, not the tomboy.
She’s as good as any of us,
We say. It’s what the Head says goes.

If she can’t, none of us will go.
Two, three peel off, and we agree:
It’s good for her to play with girls.

I see her eyes – a girl’s, a tomboy’s –
As the penny drops. Always the eyes.

By David Cameron

SWNTPoem14 – A Curler To Remember

“In life, as in art,
the beautiful moves in curves”:
a change of pace,
a change of direction;
she sends the defender the wrong way;
she sees the chance and takes it,
putting such a spin on the ball
with the side of her foot
the air itself takes part
and curls it into the corner
of the net, in life, as in art.

By Peter Clive


I could never get my head around this mush
about who gets to do what!
Who says?
I mean there’s no extra time in this game.
Once your whistle blows you leave the field.
If your thing is keepy uppy in your back garden,
dreaming of World Cup glory, when a wee lassie,
who says you can’t dream?
Who says only boys cross the touchline to reality?
There’s things to be worried about in this life.
Lassies playing football isn’t one of them.
The field’s big enough for dreams a plenty.

By Tom Murray

SWNTPoem12 – *Lessons*

Bold, talented team-
Be patient with us;
Your Nation.
Our eyes are not yet used to the light
Your trail is blazing with.
We are playing catch-up.

When your success
Is tackled
by commentary of comparison
To our international failures elsewhere?
It is a domestic red card;
Our flaw, not yours.

Be patient with us,
As we soak up and comprehend
Our triumphant place
On that global pitch
That you have earned for us all.

We have been too slow to celebrate
Your flame, your meteoric rise.
We are lumbering and heavy
Compared to you,
our nimble-footed team.

You have been patient with us.
But be sure,
Be sure now,
we are with you;
Your Nation.
Our Nation.

We are behind you
With pride-grins,
As you set off on your mission.
We are lifted by your light.
We have learnt from your success.

You have taught your country well.

By Polly Bee (Pauline Barkley)


SWNTPoem11a – The Beautiful Game

So far, so civil
as St. George’s Cross,
flies shyly
over Scotland House.
Single fraternal statement, which may yet drown out
the wheeze and whine, of a dejected bagpipe’s advent.

We may yet expect the old refrain:
Empire, Agincourt, the Auld Alliance
banded back and Forth
and talk of 1066 and 1966,
as the world’s sports reporters
await the final score.

Little surprise to some;
the roar first rises out of Canvey Island,
grows louder still, arouses the comb-overs
of Saxon roundheads
across the Home counties.

Up north,
as the beer-bellied brass band breathe in,
launch into a penultimate gust
of a rusty Jerusalem,

The maypole sways, unstable in the sod,
its ribbons frayed, in want of a young girl’s touch,

The highfalutin pundits waffle
along the airwaves,
the over-paid, all sweat and hair gel,
glisten glorious under a Russian sun;
a bag of air is booted round a field.

But, there she is, in the yard,
kicking ball against what was
once a mill-workers back wall.
Wondering if she’ll make it,
if she’ll ever be paid the same.

By Marcas Mac An Tuairneir


SWNTPoem11 – An Geama Gaisgeil

Gu ruige seo,
cha chualar guth de Chrois Sheòrais,
na bàirlinn, gu fiata-fata,
os cionn Taigh na h-Alba.
Samhla bràithreil a-mhàin, a bhàthadh, fhathast,
burral ’s creiceil pìoba fo sprochd, ri teachd.

Bu chòir a bhith an dùil ri seann-dhuan:
Ìmpireachd, Agincourt, an Seann-chàidreachas
nan iomlaid thugainn ’s uainn is
bruidhinn gu lèor air 1066 is 1966,
fhad ’s a dh’fhanas luchd-naidheachd spòrs
air ciallsgur deireannach an sgòir.

Bu dual do dh’fheadhainn
a dh’èiricheadh raois à Eilean Canvey,
a dh’fhàsadh mòr, a dhùisgeadh falt tana cìrte
cruinn-chinn Shasainn
air feadh na sgìre mu thimcheall Lunnainn.

Aig tuath,
fhad ’s a ghabhas brùthan-lionna còmhlan-umha anail,
a thogas Ierusalem leth-dheireannach
na dheannaichean meirgeach,

Tulgaidh crann-Bhealltaine, neo-bhunailteach san fhòid,
na ribeannan aig’ air bleith, le dìth sgiobag ìghne.

Craolar sruth bleadraich gun bhrìgh,
fearas-mhòr is raspars aithris,
is iadsan a choisinneas beartas gun cheann, gun chrìch,
le deàrrs fallais is dealatain fuillt, fo ghrian na Rùis’;
thèid màla-gaoith a bhreabadh mu raon.

Ach sin i fhèin, sa chlobhs’ air chùl an taighe,
a’ bualadh bàil an aghaidh balla,
a bha aon uair aig muillear.
Ar leatha an dèan i fhèin a’ chùis,
am faigh i co-ionnanachd pàighidh.

By Marcas Mac An Tuairneir


SWNTPoem10 – Ya Beauty

“She’s awright fur a lassie”
Straight-backed, heid up, hur boots laced wi pride an hope;
she leads hur team up thi tunnel.

“Look at thi legs oan that.”
Legs trained oan pavements, tear doon thi field, eating up thi space between hur an thi baw.

“Nice arse”
Muscle honed fae mettle.

“Get yir tits oot.”
Hur heartbeat is tinnitus as she heads up the field. Thi sacred moment-
expectation’s a beautiful pause…

“No fast enough”
“No hard enough”
“No skilled enough.”

And then,
Fur aw the lassies.

By Elaine McKay


SWNTPoem9 – Believers

Qualification was once a given
There was never a thought of us missing out

Our place was the comfort of the underdog on the undercard
Where we never said die,
We worked so hard,
We brought colour and spirit over finesses
It’s what we did best

All the rampant lions and lionesses
Wearing dark blue
All feeling blessed
That we were coming down the road

You would hear the noise
of us coming down the road
you would feel our pride
of our wee land
a nation that never demands
but dreams more than any other.

A nation of dreamers, schemers
And forever believers

So let’s believe again.

By Kevin Graham


SWNTPoem8 – Only A Game

On the edge banished by age and sex
crisp in cotton dress, she balances
watching the tumbled kick-thump
of the ball against the greying wall.
She studies the big boys practising
accuracy, trickery, rehearsing victory.
In worn gutties they frown and slam
angled curves that swerve away
to punch with certainty into marked out
goals. The chalk borrowed from sisters
playing sure-footed on dainty peever beds.
Rain will erase their presence
but the lessons learned will linger.

By Finola Scott



When you were selling fruit in the market
Because your mother couldn’t send you to school,

When they told you it was a boy’s sport
And you should play with dolls instead,

When you were the only girl in the team
And the community mocked you for it,

When you were banned from the tournament
Because teams refused play against you,

When you made a three-day bus journey alone
For the chance to prove yourself at 14,

When your goals went unnoticed
Because who wants to watch the women’s league?

When you tore opponents’ defences apart
And got a fraction of your male counterparts’ wages,

When they called you “Pelé with skirts”
Because they still had to compare you to a man,

When you were doubted,
When you were shunned,
When you were ridiculed,
When you were dismissed,

When you were made captain of Brazil,
When you carried the Olympic Flag,
When you won the World Cup Golden Boot,
When you won Player of the Year five times in a row,

Did you ever think,
At any point,
Even for a second,
‘I can’t play football

By Karyn Dougan Buckland


SWNTPoem6 – The Beautiful Game

The stage is set
for 90 minute dramas
played with power, passion, and style
as girls go for glory
in games won by defenders
not yielding an inch to opponents
no matter the skills of their wingers
maybe the goalscoring abilities
of star strikers will be the deciding factor
in a well deserved victory
or the gravity defying saves
the goalie made
when her team were under pressure
might be the turning point
between victory and defeat
in the beautiful game
but no matter what the girls do
or how well they play
there will always be some who say
football is not and can never be
a girl’s game
and though fame and recognition
still belong to the boys
for the moment at least
this feisty female football feast
could just be the platform
the women’s game needs
to change the public perception
that this so-called male dominion
is not a sport we should be participating in
we’ve come a long way
since the days Gregory’s girl
could bend it like Beckham
and now we can play
a game banned in Scotland
till the year I went to the big school
74 opened doors closed for decades
in our land
and now like the women of Brazil and Japan
we stand proud of our girls and our game
as names like Erin, Lisa, Kim, and Lizzie
become heroes
for our daughters and our sons

By Gayle Smith


SWNTPoem5 – The Women Before Her

Not yet six
she half sits,
half stands

her body fizzing
fixated on the pink
shirts before her.

She’s singing for
Shelley’s army and
doesn’t miss a beat

eighteen thousand
voices, for our
girls, for our game

for her Scotland.
They show her
what women

can do when
we raise each other.
She believes in

the women who
save themselves,
the girls standing

ready to gie it laldy
shoulder to shoulder
before her.

By Julie McNeill


SWNTPoem4 – Fitba Is A Man’s Game?

“Wummin in the World Cup?
Yer aff yer heid!” they say
“Fitba is a man’s game,
Wee lassies cannae play!”

“They’ll brek a nail or rip their tichts
They’re orange fi fake tan
They greet then their mascara runs!
Leave fitba tae a man!”

Then fi the tunnel, the team run
To a roaring, deafening cheer
Five minutes in and they’re one up
A braw free kick fi Weir!

The ba’ fa’s tae Jen Beattie
She backheels it tae Murray
Joelle passes wide ti Smith,
Who clears it in a hurry

Another chance, but no to be
The ba’ rattles aff the bar
Jane Ross got the rebound
And sticks it past the keeper

A stop fi Alexander
Time to settle doon
Keep possession, pass the ball
Get it up to Broon!

Scotland has a free kick
Thanks to a twohanded shove
Up comes Hayley Lauder
Who gets it to Jo Love!

Goals mount up fir oor “wee team”
They score fi everywhere
And if ye hink girls cany play fitba
Ye’ve no met Shelley Kerr!

By Christine Knox


SWNTPoem3 – By Ony Ither Name

The scouts wir left staunin. Defenders, the same,
When the seventh flew in in the unner eights game;
“Haw, gie us a bell when thon Ross laddie grows!”
Yon scouts are still waitin. Yon laddie wis Rose.

Rose Reilly, Rose Reilly, yer feet are sae fleet,
Ye megged aw the laddies an made thaim tae greet;
The boys that wir chasin ye hadnae a chance,
Rose Reilly, Rose Reilly, ye led thaim a dance!

They tried tae disguise ye wi short back an sides,
But yer smarts wir the staun-oot that nae man could hide;
Nae dummy wis spat when they gied ye a doll,
Ye jist went doon the playgrund an swapped for a ball.

Rose Reilly, Rose Reilly, the tanner baw Pele,
They gied ye the belt an they prayed tae expel ye;
The heidies wir haundin doon ban efter ban,
But Rose Reilly, Rose Reilly, wis aff tae Milan!

It’s easy tae caw it the muive o yer dreams
When ye stairt aff in Stewarton, wind up in Reims;
But this wis yer hame, an ye’d mebbe hiv steyed
If the pouers-that-be wir the pouers-that-peyed.

Rose Reilly, Rose Reilly, yer name micht be flouery,
But yer hert wis like ice when ye wore the Azzurri;
Lionesses noo rampant wir jist wakin up,
Rose Reilly, Rose Reilly, had won the Warld Cup!

The pageant, the contest, the lycra-tight figure,
The warld then was sma; but you made it bigger.
They banned ye fae fitba for sweet SFA,
But nae goalie could stop ye, an neither could they.

Rose Reilly, Rose Reilly, the fix wis aye in,
Short skirts for the lassies, twa points for the win;
But the net couldnae haud ye, ye shot throu the waw,
Rose Reilly, Rose Reilly, the belle o the baw!

By Thomas Clark


#SWNTPoem2 – Bird

Of course I remember her.
Best burper in my year at school.
Could rival Godzilla for volume.

She was nobody’s bird
but at playtimes, we used to carve maths-trees.
My initials + her initials
were the square root
of a scratched, lopsided heart
until one day some boy booted
a ball off her face
then hooted something about dykes.

Eyes screwed into the tips of darts.

I thought she would tear him apart
but instead she dribbled,
juggled, all jink and nimble
with swift feet and meteoric legs
before belittling him in front of his friends
with a Cruyff-like nutmeg;

his flailing arms
clutching at invisible pom-poms
before toppling backwards into a dog turd.

Aye, she was nobody’s bird.

By Stephen Watt


#SWNTPoem1 – To Them All

Tomorrow is a test born
a long time ago, only now
finding its feet on fresh grass.

I will hear doubt, derision and
celebrate none of their indignation
but move the horizon a little further.

I will embrace tomorrow, inventing
my own destiny, the one I share with
my sisters, the ones I love and with you.

At anytime, in victory or defeat
it won’t be strange to shed tears.
Images of rage, of division have no place.

It is for us, now that the grass is confident
to support our feet, to test tomorrow
born a long time ago.

By Jim Mackintosh