SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands, Emma Roddick, has highlighted the work of Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC in supporting the women’s game during a debate in the Scottish Parliament.

The debate, which highlighted a recent investigation which reported sexism as the most common form of abuse that female players receive, with 60% of female respondents reporting that they had experienced it, took place on Wednesday evening.

During the debate, the MSP, a Caley Thistle season ticket holder, said:

“I was heartened earlier this year by the comments made by ICTFC when they stepped in to save Thistle Girls FC, a local team who, without that fast, positive action, would have become dormant. The club stated their commitment to promoting and growing football for women and girls in the Highlands.

“It was a very proud moment for the club, and it is hard to overstate the importance of statements like this in solidifying the place of women in the game in the Highlands.”

She also explained her own experience of sexism in football, saying:

“At lunchtime kick-abouts in school, I was chased away by the boys who felt that the only way a girl should be involved in football is when they decided it was an effective weapon for the back of my head.  That attitude carries on to adulthood.

“It is very, very clear to me that there are a lot of men, out there who use football as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour.  They use a big game as an excuse to drink too much, cause a disturbance, and sometimes harm each other and their friends and family, because that’s ‘just what you do’. It’s not just what you do.  And it is a problem.

“The attitude some take towards football in Scotland ruins it for other people, and it puts folk, often women and girls, off taking an interest and becoming footballers themselves. It’s our game, too, and, right now, we need support.”