Skip to main content Skip to footer

Women's Wednesday Football Focus Series

Celebrating Sheila Begbie

For this week’s Women’s Wednesday Football Focus Series, we will be showcasing the amazing Sheila Begbie. She was born in 1957 and grew up in Drylaw, Edinburgh. Begbie grew up playing football and other sports with boys in the street. When she was 13 years old, a chance meeting on the bus led to her discovering a local women’s team, Edinburgh Dynamos. Begbie became the youngest member of the team, but this was common as girls often played for women’s teams. This is a plaque she received in 1970-1980 while playing for the Edinburgh Dynamos.

Sheila Begbie’s Edinburgh Dynamo 1970-1980 Plaque.

At just 15 years old, she made her debut for the Scotland team on the 23rd of June 1973 against England, which ended in an 8-0 defeat for Scotland. During this game, Begbie played alongside Edna Nellis and Rose Reilly, whom she played against regularly at club level. Begbie recalled that Nellis and Reilly were role models to her, and it was exciting and challenging to play against players like them.

During Scotland’s game against Italy in September 1974, Begbie scored a goal, but the game sadly ended in a 3-1 defeat for Scotland. This is a poster advertising the Scotland v. Italy Game on the 24th of September 1974 at the San Siro Stadium.

GLASF2019.0572, Scotland v. Italy 24th September 1974, San Siro Stadium Poster.

On the 29th of May 1977, Begbie captained Scotland in their first-ever 2-1 win against England at Downfield Park, Dundee. This is a programme from this game.

GLASF2017.0355, Programme from Women’s Scotland v. England Game Sunday 29th May 1977, Downfield Park, Dundee.
Begbie was offered opportunities to play semi-professionally in Italy and the United States, but she decided to stay in Scotland to work as a physical education teacher. She recalled that at this time, female physical education jobs were scarce, and she didn’t feel like the risk was worth it. Over Begbie’s career, she earned 25 caps playing as a defender.

The Scottish Sports Council launched its Team Sport Scotland initiative to increase the opportunities for coaches and players in 1991. As part of this scheme, Begbie became the Girls and Women’s Football Co-Ordinator. Begbie and Maggie Wilson became the first women in Scotland to pass their A Coaching License in 1995.  In 1998, she was made Head of Girls’ and Women’s’ Football at the Scottish Football Association. Begbie was involved in establishing the Scottish FA Women’s National Performance Centre at the University of Stirling. She has also worked with UEFA in several roles including; Head of their Women’s Committee and as a Match Delegate. This is Begbie’s Match Delegate Chair Sign from the UEFA’s Women’s Euro 2013 Sweden Championship.

GLASF2023.0105, Sheila Begbie’s Match Delegate Chair Sign from UEFA Women’s Euro 2013.

In 2001, Begbie received a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year’s Honours List for her services to women’s football. She began working as the Head of Women’s Rugby at the Scottish Rugby Union in 2014 and became the Director of Domestic Rugby in 2017. Sheila Begbie has had a hugely successful career and has made a huge contribution to improving women’s sports. The Scottish Football Museum is proud to showcase items from Begbie’s amazing career.


By Robyn McCready.







Book your place

Discover a national football collection to educate and inspire future generations.

Book online or call us today on 0141 616 6139.

Tickets from £8

Tours from 45 minutes

Learn how we use cookies on our website to ensure you get the best possible user experience.