SWPL 1: Title race heats up after Celtic tops Rangers

Sarah Teegarden of Celtic breaks through the Rangers defense on the ball.
Sarah Teegarden of Celtic breaks through the Rangers defense on the ball. (Photo by Vagelis Georgariou)

From an Old Firm to a bottom-place battle, Wednesday’s fixture list was full of exciting games. Teams have shuffled throughout the table and the title race has been blown wide open. Here’s how the SWPL 1 unfolded midweek:

Hibernian 1-2 Glasgow City

Glasgow City travelled to the capital to battle it out with their neighbouring city rivals. The last time these sides met, City managed to grab all three points with a 3-2 win at home. In a similar fashion again, they came from behind to make sure they didn’t go home empty handed. Despite Hibs’ efforts, Glasgow snatched the win.

Eilidh Adams got her side an early lead in the game after Kirsty Morrison picked her out in the box. A well placed shot meant that Lee Alexander was left helpless in goal. Hibs continued to sit in and be patient as planned, but Janine Van Wyk took a shot from distance and levelled the scoring. With no player in green closing her down, her rocket strike rattled the top corner – Emily Mutch had no chance.

The second half started with City being the more dominant side, and they were soon rewarded. Priscila Chinchilla went down in the box and won her team a penalty. The Costa Rican stepped up and put the ball away, making no mistake. Hibernian struggled to get back into the fixture and had plenty of defending to do. The final whistle blew in Edinburgh and 2-1 was the final score.

Forfar 1-2 Spartans

Spartans got back to winning ways on Wednesday with a win against Forfar. Both clubs sat close on the table, so points were important to separate the two. Now, the Edinburgh side find themselves in fourth thanks to two early goals to boost themselves above Hibs.

Two goals in ten minutes meant Spartans were on the front foot early on. Becky Galbraith took both chances and utilised her finesse in front of goal. The home side continued to push on and create chances, not giving up easily. Lauren Perry made some great saves to keep her team in it, on a high still from her Euro qualification with Northern Ireland.

Just ten minutes from half-time, Cheryl Kilcoyne found herself with a great chance to score, and did so through the legs of Yates.

Despite the pressure build-up from Spartans late on, neither side found the back of the net in the second half. It ended 2-1 to the away side at Station Park.

Celtic 1-0 Rangers

Undoubtedly the biggest game of the week, Celtic Park hosted the second Old Firm of the season. Celtic against Rangers is a fixture full of history, and the rivalry is unmatched.

Hoping to seek revenge from the 1-0 defeat in November, the Gers dominated the tie from start to finish. But all it took was one slip-up, one chance, and Celtic were on their way to painting Glasgow green. It was heartbreak for Malky Thomson yet again.

As expected, Rangers got off the mark from the first whistle. Celtic handled the persistent efforts to get forward from Rangers, and were patient with their own attempts. Keeping possession in the middle to burst forward when she could, Sam Kerr played a vital part in setting the tone. Not long into the game, Kirsty Howat found herself on the right flank, and with no fault from Celtic, had to be stretchered off the park with a devastating knee injury. Her contribution to the match ended there.

Brogan Hay put in a great shift throughout, creating two chances that should’ve seen Rangers two-nil up. The first ball into the box met Emma Brownlie, a chance that was harder to miss than score. Under pressure from the defender, she put it over the bar. Sam Kerr replicated the same opportunity just a few moments later, with Hay providing the cross again.

The Light Blue’s rattled the cross-bar three times, missed golden chances and kept pushing right into the deep end of the game. Celtic made attempts at going forward, but Westrup and Swaby weren’t troubled in the backline.

With 80 minutes on the clock, Chloe Warrington played a lovely through ball to Mariah Lee who ran onto it. Jenna Fife rushed off her line but didn’t manage to retrieve the ball, leaving her goal open. Despite Westrup’s efforts to recover in time, she slotted it home and Parkhead erupted.

While Rangers kept pushing to the end, they were ultimately beaten by a late goal once again. Celtic now find themselves in the title race alongside Glasgow City and Rangers.

Motherwell 2-1 Hearts

At the bottom of the table, Motherwell and Hearts battled it out to save themselves from last place. Penny Cars Stadium was the occasion’s venue, and 2-1 to the ‘Well was the final score. Hearts are now struggling to climb up the league ladder after a number of defeats on the bounce.

Claire Adams opened the scoring after meeting a cut-back in the box, the experienced midfielder put her side ahead just 17 minutes into the game. Six minutes later, a defensive mix-up from Hearts meant that Nicole Pullar had an easy job of passing the ball into an empty net. Motherwell now found themselves in comfortable territory.

Hearts manager Andy Kirk still felt his team could grab themselves something from the game, so he shuffled his squad and brought on fresh legs.

Early on in the second half, a quick breakaway and cross from Katey Turner meant that Kristie McIntosh could put away a finish past the home side’s keeper. They tried for a second in hopes of at least taking away a point. Yet, the grit to see out the game from Motherwell meant it was three for them at home. It was an important victory for the Lanarkshire outfit, as they peel away from the bottom.

Scottish Women's Premier League table after matchweek 11.

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