AN East Renfrewshire woman has become the first female teacher in Scotland to receive an award for 20 years of commitment to girls’ football.

Gillian Boyle, deputy head at Eastwood High, in Giffnock, was presented with the Scottish Schools’ Football Association (SSFA) 20-Year Award at Hampden Park.

She has been in charge of girls’ football at the school since 1999 and has developed players’ confidence and skills in weekly training sessions, introducing many to their first experience of the beautiful game.

Gillian told the Barrhead News that giving girls the chance to get involved in football at a young age has significant benefits.

“I am honoured to have received this award but that is not why I’ve kept going with this for so long,” she said.

“Football gives girls a chance to develop their teamwork skills and helps them settle into school, as they make new friends they might not otherwise have made.

“I started this because pupils asked me about it. At Eastwood High, if pupils want a club, we always try to ensure it’s available to them.

“I am so happy to see the game growing in Scotland and I hope it continues. I just love the game.

“I’d like to thank the school for putting me forward for the award.”

Over the years, Gillian has coached many pupils who have gone on to sign for teams in the Scottish Women’s Premier League.

Some have even represented the country at international level.

She has played a major role in the development of female players at regional level, with her most recent role as coach of the West District Under-15s team.

A spokesperson for the SSFA said: “Gillian has been pivotal in the development and growth of schools football in Eastwood High and beyond.”