FOOTBALL fans in North Ayrshire will get the chance to rub shoulders with Scottish sporting royalty this summer - in the shape of the nation's only World Cup winner.

The event is the latest to be organised by the recently-formed North Ayrshire Tartan Army branch.

Ahead of the national team's win against Norway last month, the branch hosted their first 'pints with players' event in Saltcoats, when Colin Hendry visited to chat with fans.

Now, they have arranged for a trailblazer of women's football to come to North Ayrshire.

Rose Reilly MBE, who comes from nearby Stewarton, will be coming to the Garnock Social Club in Kilbirnie next month for their latest event.

Rose's story is one that is far from simple - and it started right here in Ayrshire.

She grew up playing for local boys club side Stewarton United, aged seven, with short hair and under the guise of 'Ross'.

She was, in fact, once scouted by Celtic - before they found out she was a girl.

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

But in those days there was no way for a woman to become a professional footballer in Scotland, so Rose, then aged 17, left Ayrshire to follow her dream.

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”.

She started off with Reims in France, winning a league title, before moving to AC Milan.

During her time in Italy, Reilly won eight Serie A titles, four Italian Cups and twice won the Golden Boot.

A huge hit, she was asked by the country’s president to play for the national team- and won the 1984 Women’s World Cup with her adopted country, playing as captain and scoring in a 3-1 win in the final against West Germany.

She was named female world footballer of the year, and became a household name in Italy.

Rose went on to make 22 appearance for Italy, scoring 13 goals in the process.

She was never to achieve the same level of fame in Scotland, as the governing body behind Scottish women’s football banned Reilly from representing her country - reportedly for her move abroad.

She had earned 10 caps with the country of her birth before the ban was imposed.

Now Tartan Army fans have the chance to hear her share her story first hand - with food and entertainment following her chat.

The event, on Friday, August 25, begins at 7pm and runs until midnight.

Tickets priced at £5 for North Ayrshire Tartan Army branch members and £6 for non-members.

For more information on the North Ayrshire Tartan Army, visit their Facebook page, and tickets to their event can be bought online at