So far we’ve had a Champions League debutant in Celtic, a record-breaking crowd at Easter Road and a few worldie-style goals in there too, but what else can we expect to see for the remainder of the 2021/22 SWPL season in Scotland?
The SWPL made its return on January 16th, following the winter break. With at least one game live on TV each week, it’s the perfect time to delve deeper into an action-packed league. Let’s take a look at how the season has panned out so far…
History with a Capital H
Hibernian and Heart of Midlothian have a rivalry that dates back a number of decades. However, this time they came together to break the record of attendance of an SWPL1 match.
Goals from Eilidh Adams, Rachael Boyle and Alexa Coyle meant that Hibs sealed the win over their Edinburgh rivals. Not only was this a win for the Hibees, but importantly a win for women’s football. With the match being at the men’s stadium, Easter Road and 5,512 fans watching, it’s a date for the history books.
Since then, both Edinburgh clubs have gone on to host further fixtures at their main stadiums. Both Hibernian and Hearts’ social media accounts helped promote the derby alongside other important games. By promoting the ‘one club’ mentality around their women’s team, the support has been felt.
When we begin to live in a post-covid world, regular attendances will hopefully rise too.Embed from Getty Images
The three Cs: Cups, Champions League, and Charlie Wellings
The usual culprits of lifting a trophy in Scotland have been Glasgow City and Hibernian for a decade now. That was until Celtic won the SWPL Cup in December.
Up against 14-time league winners Glasgow City, the Hoops looked the underdogs going into the final, though they certainly didn’t play like it.
Lifelong Celtic fan Caitlin Hayes scored the only goal of the game and engraved her club’s name on the trophy. For the first time since 2010, the silverware was laid to rest at Parkhead.
Alongside the SWPL Cup, Celtic made their UEFA Women’s Champions League debut after securing second place in last season’s table. They beat Rangers to a European spot, but most notably almost secured the league title.
Fran Alonso’s Celtic had to count on Rangers beating Glasgow City on the final day of the season, but unfortunately they fell short and it remained at Broadwood Stadium — where it has been since 2008.
Former Birmingham City and Bristol City striker Charlie Wellings has made her mark in Scotland with her current goal-scoring streak. Despite big-hitters in the league such as Jane Ross and Priscilla Chinchilla, she sits in first place in the SWPL1 current goal scorers chart. A total of 13 league goals by Christmas isn’t too bad, eh?
Ross wins it for Rangers
Imagine this: you support a club all your life, your family are die-hard fans too. You play for some of the biggest names in the sport, including Manchester City and United. After being a consistent goal-scorer for both club and country for a number of years now, you get your dream move to said club. Well, that is Jane Ross’ reality.
Her move to Rangers came with such noise — the Gers had another lifelong fan in their squad. Not only that, but one of the best finishers Scotland has ever produced.
Similar, but on a higher level to Hibernian and Hearts, Celtic and Rangers’ rivalry dates back a long time. It is one of the most recognised derbys in the world, unarguably the most fierce too. That same energy filtered into the women’s team when they were founded, making each between meeting the two just as important as a cup final.
Ross marked her first Old Firm with not only a standout performance, but the winning goal in their 1-0 victory over the Celts in November last year.
Rachel McLauchlan’s through ball was met by Ross who cheekily lobbed a helpless Chloe Logan in goal. It was the first time that the Light Blue’s had beaten Celtic since turning professional. Who else than a born and bred Rangers fan?
This weekend’s fixture list
Rangers vs Glasgow City — 2pm KO
Hearts vs Motherwell — 2pm KO
Hamilton vs Partick Thistle — 2pm KO
Spartans vs Celtic — 2pm KO
Aberdeen vs Hibernian — 4pm KO