SWPL: Rangers go five points clear at the top as Partick Thistle and Hearts secure cup semi-final spots

Rangers players form a wall during a free kick.
Rangers held Motherwell to a 1-0 victory on April 3, 2022 at Alliance Park. (Photo by Rangers FC)

The Scottish top flight is slowly coming to its finale. As it stands, Rangers and Glasgow City remain the only teams in the running for the title.

Fran Alonso’s Celtic failed to overcome the challenges of Rangers and City, and find themselves sitting in third. With the Hoops winning the SWPL cup earlier in the season, they won’t be going home this season empty handed.

The bottom of the table is still tight. With no relegation this season, there will be time for a much-needed rebuild in the summer. Hamilton Academical currently occupy the ‘soon to be’ relegation place but a poor run of results from Partick Thistle, Hearts or Motherwell could see them slip down the rankings.

In the Biffa Scottish Cup, Hearts, Partick Thistle, Celtic and Glasgow City all made it to the semi-final of the competition. Brian Graham’s Thistle undoubtedly pulled off the result of the competition in their 4-2 win over Hibernian.

Hibs—who are partial to a trophy lift—are continuing to be questioned on their sudden demise over the course of the season.

Thistle through to the semis

At the start of the season, Partick Thistle manager Brian Graham pleaded for fans and others to believe in his journey with the Jags. Although the season comes to an end in a few weeks, it’s clear that his process is coming together.

Hibernian have a rich history in cup competitions, winning a total of 15. They’ve also represented Scotland in the Champions League and UEFA Cup. The Hibees are a team of internationals and professional academy graduates—beating them in the manner in which they did is an incredible achievement.

Goals from Clare Docherty, Taylor Hamill, Cara McBrearty and Cheryl McCulloch secured Partick Thistle a 4-2 win over Hibernian at Petershill Park in the Biffa Scottish Women’s Cup.

It was Partick who started off on the front foot, scoring two in the first half. Just minutes into the restart, McBrearty made it three for the home side. From then on, it looked as though there was no way back for Dean Gibson’s Hibs.

Whether it was the away support or the realisation of their performance, Hibernian began to fight back. Shannon Leishmann and Michaela McAlonie pulled two goals back in the 20 minutes that would follow.

Comebacks happen in football all the time, but this would not be one of them. With 15 minutes remaining, McCulloch sealed the win for Thistle and sent her side to second semi-final. Rightly so, the coaching staff and substitutes would flood the pitch at the full-time whistle—celebrating their victory.

Rangers continue unbeaten run

The sign of a winning team is one that can win with odds stacked against them. In the grittiest of games, they still find a way. That is Rangers this season. Although their football has been wonderful to watch for the most part, teams have put on some great defensive displays in a bid to stop it.

Most recently, Spartans and Motherwell almost held them to a draw. The striker trio of Lizzie Arnot, Jane Ross and Kayla McCoy found a way to three points, with Brogan Hay doing what she does best down the wing.

Despite failing to take points from the ‘Gers, there is a clear increase in competition in the SWPL1. In comparison to last season, the likes of Motherwell and Spartans were used to a bigger gap in the scoreline, but this season is minimal. Without the advantage of being a full-time team and having internationals by the bucket load, one or two goals is nothing to drop your head about.

These scrappy results are looking to be enough, however, for Malky Thomson to lead his team to their first league title. For the last 14 years, the crown has been on the head of Glasgow City. But could there be a changing of the guard?

The last two games of the season could well be the story-tellers. Rangers are at home to Eileen Gleeson’s side, before ending the season away to fierce rivals, Celtic. It’s sure to be a must-attend occasion for any Rangers fan.

Upcoming fixtures

Following the international break, the next set of games will take place this weekend.

Motherwell vs. Hamilton at Fir Park (Men’s Stadium) – 16.04.22

Aberdeen vs. Hearts – 17.04.22

Partick Thistle vs. Celtic – 17.04.22

Rangers vs. Hibernian – 17.04.22

Spartans vs. Glasgow City – 17.04.22

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