A little bit later than usual here is this week’s three takeaways from this weekend’s Scottish Football action including the importance of bouncing back, title celebrations in the SWFL and a Danish draw for City.
This weekend was a fairly quite one in the SWPL, I had made my way to Petershill Park to see a game from each division as first Glasgow City crusied to an 8-1 win over Stirling University before Hamilton Academical defeated Glasgow Girls 5-0 to keep themselves in the SWPL2 title race as two Danni Pagliarulo penalties sealed a 2-0 victory for league leaders Hearts against Dundee United.
For Uni, the need to bounce back from such a heavy defeat has never been more pressing. Nobody arriving in Springburn on Sunday would have expected a victory for the University side but after a heavy defeat Head Coach Craig Beveridge will need to shift any hangover from the result during the international break although comfort can be taken in the fact they did a thing that very few sides have managed this season in scoring a goal against Scott Booth’s side. Uni now face games against Spartans, and relegation rivals Forfar Farmington, with the latter broadcast live on BBC Alba. It is already shaping up to be a massive game but could carry even more weight should the Green Machine get something from their clash against Debbi McCulloch’s Edinburgh side.
As an aside, best wishes go to Spartans player Ronaigh Douglas who had to be stretchered off during her sides abandoned match against Celtic. Here’s hoping for nothing but a speedy recovery.
If Stirling can bounce back in the same manner in which Hamilton Accies did this weekend then relegation survival will become an ever increasing reality. On the back of a disappointing performance at the same venue last week, where a 2-1 loss to Partick Thistle put a dent in title hopes, coach Gary Doctor brought some freshness into his starting line up with both Chloe Muir and Ellie Kane playing key roles as Accies found form in scoring five against a Glasgow Girls side that never really got started but who continue to hold their own in an increasingly competitive SWPL2.
Second placed Accies are still reliant on Hearts dropping points but that will mean nothing if they can’t keep up their end of the bargain.
The Title Parties Have Begun
With the SWPL quiet focus turned to the SWFL where over the last two weekends three champions have been crowned. Last week, in the SWFL2 – South East/Central, Edinburgh Caledonia sealed promotion with a 9-0 victory over Blackburn United Development. A win in their final league match away to Lothian this coming weekend will see Caley end the season not only top, but also with a 100% winning record.
On the West Coast Morton sealed this SWFL2 – West/South West title after completing a 6-0 victory over Clark Drive Ladies and they too are in possession of an unblemished league record. With the news of structural change in recent weeks it will be interesting to see how both sides approach the new campaign.
One side clear in their objectives is Aberdeen who perhaps provided the biggest title news of the weekend by sealing promotion from SWFL1 – North courtesy of a 2-2 draw against city rivals Cove Rangers. That point was enough to put them into an unassailable lead and ensure that the Dandies will be playing SWPL football next season. Emma Hunter and Harley Hamdani were tasked with ensuring a quick return to the elite level and have shown through their cup victories over Spartans and FC Kilmarnock that even now they have the tools to compete at a higher level.
With the club making huge strides in growing their presence across the North East it will be interesting to see how well they are set when the new season comes around.
Bring on Brondby
After coming out first of the 16 sides still competing in this season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League Glasgow City’s name was soon to be followed with that of Brondby IF and this contextually kind draw will have brought real hope that they could once again make Scottish Women’s Football history.
Of course nobody should underestimate the Danes, they are after all the seeded side, defending Danish Champions and one of only two sides, along with Fortuna Hjorring to have won the Danish title in the last 16 years as well as having seen off Swedish champions Pitea in the Last 32, however it certainly could have been a lot worse.
In avoiding the likes of Lyon, VfL Wolfsburg, Paris St. Germain and Barcelona, the side who eliminated City at this stage last season, Scott Booth and his squad can now look realistically at plotting a path to the Quarter Finals of the tournament and will relish the challenge they now face. If they can perform to the levels that they did against FC Chertanovo in the first leg at Petershill Park then they will see themselves set for a massive clash in Copenhagen at the end of October. Here at Leading the Line we will be providing a full preview of the game closer to kick off.
Remember you can now follow Leading the Line via Twitter @LeadingtheLine. Here there will be live insight from the games, comments on the breaking stories from the world of women’s football news as well as early sight of what will be coming via the podcast and on the website. It’s right good!