Tuesday’s announcement that Scotland will play Italy at the end of the season brings a welcome opportunity to relive the story of Rose Reilly, a woman with strong football connections to both nations.
 
Born in Stewarton in East Ayrshire in 1955, Reilly impressed scouts across the country with her football ability. Unfortunately for Reilly, in the early 1970s rules prohibited women from playing football professionally. Her search for a career in the game she loved took her to France when, aged just 17, she left Scotland to play full-time for Reims.
 
It was not long before Reilly attracted attention from Europe’s top clubs, and six months into her time in France she signed for ACF Milan, where she’d go on to enjoy four years with the Rossoneri.
 
At Milan she won two Serie A titles, after which she played for several clubs in Italy including Fiorentina, Lecce and Catania. In all, Reilly won eight Serie A titles, four Coppa Italias as well as the Golden Boot twice (in 1978 and 1981).
 
It is perhaps Reilly’s international career that has made her story so unique. Despite having ten caps for Scotland, Reilly switched her nationality to play for Italy. It was with the different shade of blue that Reilly would go on to score the winner in the (then unofficial) Women’s World Cup Final in front of 90,000 people.  
 
The story of Rose Reilly is certainly one that is almost unimaginable in today’s game, nor is it likely to be repeated. Her career, and the feats she reached for club and adopted country, will never be forgotten however, as in 2007 she was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.