QUITE why women’s football doesn’t seem to have really taken off in Scotland and broken through to the mainstream as it has elsewhere remains something of a mystery. And a pity.

Take this match between Rangers and Celtic. There were 3228 in attendance, a healthy enough figure that stacks up very well against some regular Premiership men’s matches, but there was a slight tinge of disappointment from the hosts that their record attendance of 4421 wasn’t threatened under the circumstances, with no top-flight men’s football to compete with the fixture.

Perhaps the location didn’t help. Broadwood rather has the feel of a large leisure centre stationed somewhere inside the Arctic Circle, and the distance between the sizeable home support and the smattering of Celtic fans on the far side of the ground didn’t exactly lend itself to creating much of a tribal atmosphere.

Instead, this was a far more cerebral affair than the typical clash between these teams in the men’s game, both on the park, and mercifully, off it too. The religious baggage and vitriol that is so associated with meetings between Celtic and Rangers - whether that be at Celtic Park, Ibrox or down the local boozer - was refreshingly absent. There was an edge to the game, no doubt, but the more family friendly atmosphere made for a pleasant change.

There was an impressive technical level on display from both teams – and from Rangers, in particular – as they sprayed passes around on as surface that always more brings to mind a living room rug of decent pile than a pitch fit for top-level football.

So, the teams deserve credit for trying to play the ball on the deck, and in Brogan Hay and Jacynta Galabadaarachichi in particular, both sides had individuals capable of producing a spark to get the fans excited.

Both also lacked a ruthless streak in attacking areas though, with a lot of nice football in the middle of the park too often not producing anything of note at the end of it, and the game ultimately finished goalless. There was certainly a lot of talent on display though, of that there is no doubt.

It’s just a shame that there weren’t more people attracted to the wilds of Cumbernauld to see it. Rangers manager Malky Thompson was positive about the turnout though, and hopes the football on display will encourage more of those in attendance to come back on a regular basis.

“It was fantastic,” Thompson said. “That was really pleasing, and that is a reward for the work the staff put in behind the scenes to get it set up.

“I was a wee bit disappointed in the result, but I would rather see a performance like that and know that it does just need some tweaks and we can do something about it.”

As for the match itself, as Thompson alludes to, Rangers will feel aggrieved not to have won it, and the fact they didn’t owed much to an impressive performance of Celtic goalkeeper Pamela Tajonar.

There was an early reminder that this was indeed an Old Firm clash as Celtic captain Caitlin Hayes clattered into Kayla McCoy from behind. But this was not the blood and thunder of your typical match between the Glasgow sides. This was more measured, with Rangers passing the ball patiently and Celtic sitting deeper, waiting for a chance to spring on the break. It rarely came.

In fact, the first half an hour of the match passed by with neither goal being unduly troubled by the opposition, though Rangers keeper Victoria Esson seemed intent on causing her own problems.

Twice she came charging from her goal, and twice she was handed a reprieve. The first time, Celtic nicked the ball but Clarissa Larisey couldn’t convert with Esson in no-woman’s land, and then referee Lorraine Watson showed mercy as she produced a rather lenient yellow card after Esson came racing for her goal to take down Larisey on the edge of the area.

Jacynta and Natalie Ross soon followed her into the book for Celtic as at last, the temperature started to rise a bit between the sides, and Tajonar was finally stretched too when Nicola Docherty let fly from long range.

The Celtic keeper was tested again at the start of the second half, repelling a Sam Kerr effort after nice set-up play from McCoy and saving low from a Jenny Danielsson blast, before Tessel Middag beat her all ends up from a free-kick that rattled the crossbar from 25 yards out.

Rangers kept pushing, and Hannah Davidson flashed a header inches wide, before there was a moment of concern as Lucy Ashworth-Clifford was stretchered off holding her knee after committing a foul on Rangers substitute Kirsty Howat.

A crunching last-ditch tackle from Claire O’Riordan denied Middag just as she looked certain to net a late winner for the hosts and Docherty again was denied from long range by Tajonar.

“We’ve got to question ourselves in the final third,” Thompson added. “We’re creating chances and not taking them.

“Everything from the back to the middle is great, you saw the dominance in the game, but if we’re going to be hyper-critical – which we need to be – then the fine detail is that we need to be scoring in that final third.”

Celtic almost nicked it at the death, as Hayes met a corner with a downwards header, but Esson did well to get up and tip round the post. That would have been a touch unfair on Rangers had it gone in, though Celtic manager Fran Alonso would certainly have taken it.

“I was getting ready to celebrate,” Alonso said.

“I saw that the delivery was good and I knew that Caitlin was going to get on the end of it but it really was a top save to prevent her from scoring.

“At the end of the game the girls were satisfied with a point and how we played in the game, but there is a feeling that we always want to win so when we do not do that, then we always feel it is a chance missed.”

The real winners on the day then were Glasgow City, who can now edge to the top of the three-way fight at the top of the table ahead of both Rangers and Celtic for the first time this season with a win over Partick Thistle tomorrow afternoon.

Perhaps though, the women’s game in general can chalk this up as a win if more floating punters do indeed come back, with goals the only thing missing from an otherwise competitive encounter.