SWPL 1: Rangers and Glasgow City remain neck and neck as league resumes

The Lassies' Game column graphic.

Sunday saw the return of the Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) after a four month pause due to Covid-19. Teams in the top flight were given the go-ahead three weeks ago, not leaving much time to prepare.

As well as the league returning, a new TV deal was announced with BBC Alba. All four of the weekend’s fixtures were available to watch live on a club stream or TV for the first time ever. Additionally, a weekly SWPL highlights series will air on BBC Scotland.

From debut goals to double penalties, Scotland had it all in matchweek eight.

Hearts 0-6 Rangers

Rangers were ruthless in Edinburgh when they put six past Hearts. Scotland international Sam Kerr bagged her first and second goal for the club – a clean finish and strong header. It was another good day at the office for Kirsty Howat and Lizzie Arnot, two players who have stood out since their signings with the Light Blues.

Arnot slotted home two penalties and Howat fired a Nicola Docherty cross high into the net. Emma Brownlie ticked her name on the assist list too before the second half. Zoe Ness found her pass and scored with composure in abundance.

Despite the scoreline, the Edinburgh outfit had some key moments. Offside kept Jenna Fife out of trouble due to early runs from the Hearts front line. Claire Delworth put in a great shift up against Arnot and Docherty – the youngster dug in deep until the end. In the end it was a great way to get back to work for Malky Thomson’s side. Rangers will be looking to build on that result as the SWPL season goes on.

Motherwell 2-3 Forfar Farmington

Kevin McGreskin kick started his Forfar career with a nail-biting win. Penny Cars Stadium was a goalless venue up until the 48th minute – Lisa Ryan came to the rescue.

A period of set-play grabbed the lead for the away side, but Callaghan soon drew the game level again. Cassie Cowper made it 2-1 with a wonderful 40 yard free-kick, an assist and a goal for the midfielder.

Motherwell conceded their third through a mix-up at the back, Forfar utilised their lack of concentration and made it three to McGreskin’s side. A strong contest between the two ended 3-2, Jordan McLintock pulled one back to cushion the blow of the defeat. Plenty of play at the end could’ve seen either club take home a point or three.

A well-matched SWPL fixture made for some great entertainment and a good start in Forfar’s new era. A hugely improved side, Motherwell are slowly but surely guiding themselves to better results and performances.

Spartans 2-0 Hibernian

Edinburgh shone red and white after an emphatic win for Spartans. It took them 45 minutes to get going but the second half was a dominant one. Kat Smart was the first to write her name on the scoresheet after a long-range effort met the back of the net. Dominance was on display and possession rarely found Hibs. It wasn’t long before it paid off again – Galbraith made it two at Ainslie Park.

For the last half an hour of the game, it was all about maintaining the ball and not taking any risks for home side. Bragging rights in the Scottish capital fuelled the fire and it was Spartans that went home derby winners. They managed to fight off their rivals attempts to get back in the game and it ended 2-0.

Celtic 0-3 Glasgow City

It was a dream debut for Arna Sif Ásgirmsdóttir and Niamh Farrelly as the pair contributed with a goal each in a 3-0 victory over Celtic. Aoife Colvill got the goals started though in the first half, Robertson muscled her way into the box and put it on a plate for the 20-year-old forward.

Celtic struggled to find their feet after the opening goal but still kept digging. Scott Booth’s side kept the ball to go into the second half in front. It took a further 20 minutes to double their lead through a Lauder corner – Ásgirmsdóttir headed it home with a powerful effort.

As Celtic started to crumble, City came at them full throttle. Five minutes from their second came their third and final goal. Farrelly stamped her debut date with a powerful strike past Logan – Glasgow could now settle the pace.

Beautiful displays from Glasgow City sent them home with three points and three goals. It was crucial they came away with a result to keep on Rangers’ tail in at first place in the SWPL table. Celtic have the talent and depth in their squad to compete in the top three, but it was clear the four month stop had taken its toll. Not a result to be proud of for the Hoops, but one they’ll have learned from.

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