A Stewarton woman, who is the only Scottish footballer to win a World Cup, has been given an honourary degree by a top Scottish University.

Rose Reilly was recognised yesterday by Glasgow Caledonian University for her outstanding contribution to women’s football.

Rose, who is described as one of our country’s greatest players, captained the Italian squad that won the Women’s World Cup in 1984.

The striker overcame the odds to succeed in a career that at the time when the Scottish FA declared football was not “a game for ladies”.

The 64-year-old, who grew up in Stewarton, started playing football as a child for the local boys’ team and was once scouted by Celtic before they found out she was a girl.

She played with Stewarton Thistle Ladies and was part of the team that won the inaugural Scottish Cup in 1971.

Despite her many sporting successes, she says the University gong is a privilege.

She said: “University is a massive honour for me.

“Most of my awards have been in Italy, as that is where my career was based, so it is wonderful to be recognised in Scotland too.”

The former footballer declared that her honorary award was “certainly up there” with inductions in the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame and the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.

She added: “I’ve had to overcome many hurdles in my career and my advice to anyone, particularly women and girls, facing barriers in any area of life is not just simply to jump over them or get around them, but to smash them down if you can.”