Report: Hibernian FC & Picture: Callum Landells
Hibernian stormed their way to a third consecutive SWPL Cup trophy after demolishing Celtic 9-0 at the Falkirk Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
It was goals galore in central Scotland with Lizzie Arnot scoring five and Ellis Notley, Shannon McGregor and Kirsten Reilly getting on the scoresheet as well. An own goal from Celtic also contributed to the action.
The Main Talking Points
There was certainly no shortage of goals in the game. By half-time Hibernian were 4-0 up and extended this by a further five in the second half.
The first goal came only after seven minutes. Emma Brownlie delivered a corner from the right which found Ellis Notley around the penalty spot. However, it wasn’t a simple tap in for the defender. Her run had taken her beyond the ball but she managed to adjust and acrobatically fired the ball beyond Kiera Gibson in goal.
Ten minutes later and Lizzie Arnot doubled Hibs’ lead from the spot. A patient move from Hibs led to Kirsty Smith being brought down in the box. Arnot stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom corner to put Hibs 2-0 up.
It was not Celtic’s day which was made clear within 20 minutes as they conceded a third via a Kelly Clark own goal. Abi Harrison tried to find the run of Chelsea Cornet on the 18-yard line but the oncoming Clark knocked the ball beyond Gibson into her own net.
Arnot grabbed her second goal of the game and Hibernian’s fourth on 27 minutes. A brilliant ball from Gallacher found Hibs’ No. 7 on the six-yard line but the forward’s initial header came back off the post. Fortunately for Hibs, Arnot was alert and got to the rebound first to tap in to make it 4-0 inside 30 minutes.
Celtic came out from the half-time break slightly earlier than their opponents, eager to put their wrongs right in the second half. Shannon McGregor had other ideas. Just three minutes into the second period, Harrison played the ball into the midfielder who took one touch and struck the ball on the bounce right over Gibson into the far corner of Celtic’s goal from 20-yards out. A perfectly executed finish from Hibs’ No.10 was a sign of things to come in the rest of the game as the SWPL Cup holders extended their lead to 5-0.
Arnot had sealed her hat-trick just before the hour mark. The forward picked up the ball on the right hand side, drove inside the pitch, beating numerous defenders on her way, and fired low into the bottom corner as Hibernian went 6-0 ahead.
Hibernian substitute, Kirsten Reilly, got herself in on the action as well, scoring a goal in the 78th minute. After her first goal for the club at Easter Road in midweek, the midfielder doubled her tally for the club by heading in Arnot’s corner at the backpost to extend the lead to an incredible 7-0.
After securing her hat-trick, Arnot wasn’t done yet. Ten minutes from time, a long ball down the middle found the forward’s run who controlled and finished beyond the onrushing Gibson to give Hibs an 8-0 lead.
Five minutes later and Arnot had scored her fifth goal in the SWPL Cup Final. A determined Harrison chased a seemingly dead ball all the way to the by-line and cut it back to Arnot at the back post who didn’t get the cleanest of connections but still managed to get the ball over the line and secure Hibernian’s 9-0 scoreline.
What it means?
Hibernian won their third SWPL Cup in a row, after winning the competition in 2016 and 2017. It also means that Hibernian have now won the last five cup competitions in Scottish women’s football and will be looking to make it a treble-double at the end of this season with another Scottish Cup win.
Hibernian have also extended their unbeaten run in 2018 to 12 games.
Player of the Match
Without a doubt the Player of the Match award went to Hibernian’s Lizzie Arnot after a phenomenal performance, racking up five goals in the process.
After missing the SWPL Cup in 2017, as well as the entire campaign, the forward has made a fantastic return to play and showed it at the Falkirk Stadium.
Thoughts from the Camp
In his post-match interview, Hibernian Head Coach Grant Scott gave his thoughts on a fantastic performance from his side: “It was one of those strange games in that we thought it would be a lot tighter. We started the game so well, got an early goal and that just set the tone really.
“It’s a lot of the movements that we’re asking the girls to do but today everything worked, everything came off. In fairness to Celtic, I believe they’re a better team than that performance and result shows.
“The fact we’ve produced that performance against them is a credit to the girls.”
Five goal hero Lizzie Arnot also discussed the team’s complete performance in the SWPL Cup Final: “It was good, I think with everyone playing so well it was good that we were so dominant. We kept going from the first whistle to the end.
“Obviously getting four goals in the first half was great and to get that early one in the second half spurred us on even more. It was great from everyone today.”
Hibernian midfielder Kirsten Reilly was delighted with the impact she made on the game after coming on off the bench: “I thought it was a really good game. We dominated the whole time. We were better in the first half. It got easier as we tired them out so in the second half we were just finishing all our chances.
“I just seen Lizzie’s cross coming in and it basically just hit my head. I never knew much about it but I’ll take it.”
Hibernian now host Rangers at Ainslie Park on Sunday 27 May at 1pm as we return to SBS SWPL action, looking to continue the hunt for the league title.