SWPL 1: Celtic and Rangers lock into huge battle for Champions League


As we near the end of the 2020/21 SWPL 1 season, the top three teams are still battling for the title. Also at stake for the sides is the chance for Champions League football.

In their first professional season, Rangers have embraced the pressure of representing such a big club. Their rivals at Celtic have done the same. The two Glasgow clubs have a rivalry that dates back to their formation. This season, it’s been Celtic who got the first, second and last laugh.

Against all odds, Fran Alonso has led his side to three consecutive Old Firm wins in the SWPL 1. Each of these victories came from a late winner. As a result, Rangers find themselves in third heading into the final three fixtures.

Ewens the heading hero

With everything to play for, Rangers hosted third-place Celtic at Auchenhowie on Sunday. Three points would have almost secured Champions League football for the Gers and brought them a step closer to the trophy. The Ghirls had beaten them twice already, so Rangers only had one more chance to make things right for the countless fans awaiting an Old Firm victory.

Despite the home side dominating the half and having at least three clear-cut chances, Celtic got ahead first through skipper Kelly Clark. A wonder strike from Rachel McLauchlan drew Rangers level at the break.

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The second half was an equal playing field and the match looked to be a draw towards the dying minutes. But as they had done twice before, Celtic snatched the three points through a header from Sarah Ewens in the 82nd minute.

Rain flooded the pitch alongside the green and white of the Parkhead outfit – they had done it. A clean sweep for the Hoops against Malky Thomson’s Rangers was the stuff of dreams, and a hellish reality for the other side of Glasgow.

A costly slip-up

In Cumbernauld, it was Glasgow City who faced Hibernian in a bid to strengthen their grip on the title – one that has been theirs for 13 years.

The Edinburgh side nabbed the result of the season by holding the reigning champions to a 0-0 draw. Although the scoreline resembles a goalless affair, it could have been Hibs’ day with the chances they created. Luckily for Scott Booth, the offside flag rose on occasions that otherwise would have left his team with nothing.

A fantastic result for Dean Gibson could have been an even better one for Thomson. If Rangers had sealed the win against Celtic, they would be in the driving seat of the league and only two points behind Booth’s Glasgow City. Now, the last game of the season between City and Rangers is no longer the title-decider for themselves. It’s an all-important 90 minutes for Celtic as they could head home with the SWPL 1 trophy.

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