Rangers slid into the Scottish Women’s Premier League top spot on Sunday following a 2-1 win over Celtic. With the two sides meeting for the first time this season and only two points the difference, a close and entertaining Old Firm was the expectation.
Jo Potter is no stranger to pressure, being a former Lioness. But the weight that comes with representing either of Glasgow’s fierce football clubs compares nowhere else.
Hardy the hero for Rangers
The first half was tense and scrappy, with clear-cut chances not coming often. However, with all to play for after half-time, it made for a thrilling watch.
The Hoops were first to fire ahead just a few minutes after the restart. Caitlin Hayes rose above the Gers’ crowded box to head past Jenna Fife. Shen Mengyu placed the corner perfectly on the defender’s head to give Hayes her fourth goal in four league games against Rangers.
It wasn’t long before academy graduate Kirsty MacLean slotted an equaliser into the bottom right corner to bring her side level. After Rachel McLauchlan’s darted run through a number of green and white shirts, there Kirsty Howat was waiting in space to play the assisting pass to MacLean.Embed from Getty Images
For the minutes following, both squads battled it out in the hopes of snatching all three points and retaining the unbeaten title. Both head coaches called on their benches to make an impact, making a number of changes to their on-pitch personnel. Lizzie Arnot made her return from injury to replace youngster Mia McAuley. While Fran Alonso replaced Mengyu and Agnew for Loferski and former Gunner Natalie Ross.
Potter’s choices were soon proven decisive. With 80 minutes on the clock, Arnot marked her return to the pitch with an inviting cross into the box that was met by the head of Rio Hardy. Scoring her 14th of the season so far, the former Durham striker threw her body on the line and directed the ball into the net to send the Rangers fans into hysteria.
On the match
Rangers head coach Potter told RangersTV: “I think we were fully-deserved winners in the end, creating a few opportunities second half and I think we took the game to them.”
Talking to CelticTV, Fran Alonso commented: “It’s very disappointing, especially because we went ahead. Usually in these types of games, the team who scores first wins. But when you give space to a team with that much quality, they will punish you.”
What is up next?
Only three matches were played in the last round due to postponements. With the international break now upon us, the next round is due to be played Sunday November 5th.
Montrose vs Hibernian
Partick Thistle vs Hamilton
Hearts vs Glasgow City
Motherwell vs Aberdeen
Rangers vs Spartans
Dundee United vs Celtic