At the first time of asking, a former captain of the Scotland’s women’s football team has guided her club to promotion to the top of the Scottish women’s game. Yesterday, Dalkeith Ladies and their rookie manager, Pauline MacDonald, clinched promotion to the Scottish Women’s Premier Division, with a thumping, 9-0 win over Paisley City.
But when they take their place among the elite of the women’s game next season, it will be under a different identity.
MacDonald won 65 caps for her country, during which time she played in the American, semi-professional W-League and then for all-conquering Arsenal Ladies, in England. All ideal experience for management, which she took up at the beginning of the season, when she was handed the reins of Dalkeith Ladies team.
However, when Dalkeith make the step up, it will be under a different guise. For Pauline is not the only rookie in town.
This time last year, a group of parents whose daughters either attended or continue to attend four primary schools in Edinburgh, decided to form a girls and ladies football club.
And Dalkeith has decided to join forces with it, to ensure that – within the space of 12 months – Boroughmuir Thistle, based in the south-west of the capital, can offer an unbroken football pathway for female footballers from under-nine to, now, the Premier Division.
Gavin Michie’s daughters attend South Morningside Primary School. Other parents involved in Boroughmuir’s founding had or have daughters at James Gillespie’s, Sciennes and Bruntsfield. With 110 players already on the club’s books – with teams competing in age-group leagues all the way to adult, Division Three (South) – it has been little short of a remarkable achievement.
Michie is club chair. He says: “The club was set up to provide both fun and skills development, with a very welcoming ethos. Dalkeith joining us underlines our intent to be one of the most attractive clubs to join. In playing terms, there is the goal for every young player that they may, one day, be playing in Scotland’s top divisions. But it goes beyond that; we are a friendly, inclusive club.”
Dalkeith will be now adopting the name of Boroughmuir – who train at Meggetland. Yesterday, they undertook a clinical demolition of a side they had narrowly defeated 4-2 when they had previously met. The win keeps them in pole position to go up as champions. The 9-0 victory was secured through hat-tricks from Karen McKenzie and Pauline Harley. Lissa McIntyre, Kirsty Lawrie and Katrina Coll each also scored.
MacDonald’s trophy cabinet as a player includes three league winner’s medals, five Scottish Cup winner’s medals, four League Cup winner’s medals, a FA Cup winner’s medal and MVP (Most Valuable Player) Umbro W-League.
She says of her move into management: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year as head coach of Dalkeith Ladies and to be in the position we are at this point of the season is a fantastic achievement for everyone involved with the club. My players and coaching staff have demonstrated great commitment, team work and determination to achieve our goal of promotion with everyone striving to give their best.”
With promotion now achieved, the next milestone could be the Scottish Football Association accrediting Boroughmuir Thistle as an ‘elite club’ – not solely in playing terms but on the way it is structured and run. Elite club status can open further opportunities, not least in terms of grant funding and sponsorship, which in turn, can help secure the club’s wider ambition to become a key part of the Edinburgh sporting scene.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
For more details, contact Pauline MacDonald on 0777 4468782 and Gavin Michie on 0778 869 5135. Pics: Neil Hanna: 07702 246 823.