Whilst one SWPL title race is nearly over another has seen the field of competitors shrink down to just two and so, making a glorious return, here is Leading the Line’s Three Takeaways from this weekend’s Scottish Women’s Premier League action.
One more match
What has been seemingly inevitable for a couple of months now has nearly come to pass, with defending champions Glasgow City requiring just one more win to seal a 13th consecutive SWPL title, a feat that can be achieved this week as they face Motherwell in the unusual surroundings of the Wishaw Sports Centre. The debate about venues like these still being used for elite level domestic competition can wait for another day, as can the eulogies once the task is complete for Scott Booth’s side, but what can be said is that opposing Head Coach Donald Jennow will be keen to ensure City have to work for that final victory.
Something that 7th placed Forfar Farmington did, for 23 minutes at least, on Sunday before succumbing 5-0 to the champions elect in what was another professional and efficient performance from the leaders in a league campaign littered with them.
Nathan Flight’s side face their own big match this coming Friday when they travel south to face bottom of the table Stirling University for Friday night’s televised clash with the student side coming off the back of a 5-2 home defeat to Spartans knowing that a defeat would be a massive blow to thier SWPL1 survival hopes. Look out for a full preview of that match on Leading the Line this week.
Hibernian make a statement
There has been a lot of chatter in recent weeks about the level of improvement seen in Gregory Vignal’s Rangers since the season return and on Sunday he took his side to face Hibernian with a view to seeing just how far they had come since a 6-0 defeat at New Tinto Park back in May.
Ninety minutes later he had his answer as a blistering performance from Grant Scott’s side saw the Scottish Cup holders score eight without reply leaving those from Glasgow’s Southside under no illusions about the massive mountain they still have to climb as they look to close the gap at the top.
It’s been a transitional campaign for the Hibees following a pre-season that saw their squad pillaged by clubs south of the border and so it is to their credit that they continue to produce success in the cup competitions while it has only been a lack of consistency in the league which has prevented them from being able to mount the same level of title charge that they did last season when running City so close.
Amongst all the talk of professionalisation and growing the women’s game in Scotland the Edinburgh side have kept their powder relatively dry, but with a strong infrastructure, recognised pathways to success and the support of Hibernian FC as a whole already in place there is a sense that the Leith side can continue to build in an upward direction.
We’re officially down to an SWPL Two
It’s taken a while to get to this point but with FC Kilmarnock only able to manage a 1-1 draw at home to Glasgow Girls this Sunday one of the most competitive title races in Scottish Women’s football is finally down to two with both Hearts and Hamilton Academical still in contention as we enter the home straight.
It was a straightforward Sunday for Accies as they rattled 19 past bottom of the table Hutchison Vale and so the pressure fell on the Jambos come kick off at Oriam as they looked to maintain their lead at the top against an in-form St. Johnstone side. A Rachel Walkingshaw free kick midway through the first half was enough to see the home side keep their six point lead in a tight encounter with Head Coach Andy Enwood post match signposting the need to handle the pressure that the title chase will continue to bring.
Accies, who have a game in hand away to FC Kilmarnock to play this midweek, also face the Rugby Park side again on the final day of the season with Killie also facing Hearts this coming weekend.
The Ayrshire side aren’t the only ones who can still play a part in the destination of the title though as St. Johnstone, Glasgow Girls and Patrick Thistle all have an opportunity to be party poopers as the promotion chase hurtles towards its conclusion.
Remember you can follow Leading the Line on 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!