Hibs, Hearts and Glasgow City lift SHAAP National Academy Programme cups
Glasgow City have secured a cup double in the 18s elite youth game after beating Rangers 3-1 in the SHAAP 18s National Academy Programme Cup final.
The result followed Hibernian winning the 14s NAP league cup and city rivals Heart of Midlothian winning the treble by lifting the 16s NAP league cup on Saturday.
With one or two regulars promoted to the bench at Hampden, 18s league champions Rangers nevertheless played some nice football, particularly in the second half, with Mason Clark looking lively up front. But Glasgow City used their experience and physical presence to take control of the game, and Cara Gray scored the opener, latching onto a cross after 13 minutes.
On 37 minutes Sophia Martin controlled the ball out wide and curled a precise finish from 25 yards into the near top corner, leaving Rangers keeper Lucy Inman with no chance.
In the second half Rangers upped their physicality and were unlucky not to poke home from a corner, before City broke on a quick counterattack after the hour mark, Wright cut into the box to receive a diagonal ball from Forrest and stroked it home. Mason Clark quicky pulled one back for Rangers after running onto a long ball, but City would hold on and create a few chances on the break themselves to see out the final three one and secure an impressive cup double following their Scottish Youth Cup win over Celtic in January.
On Saturday Hibernian ran out 2-1 winners over Celtic to lift the 14s NAP league cup. Celtic looked to get the ball down on play in the early stages, but the Hibs defence were comfortable dealing with attacks, while Jessica Ramsey in midfield looked lively running the channels. And it was Hibs with the ball in the net after 18 minutes but the flag was up.
The Hibees grew in confidence, and on 23 minutes forward Ava Keenan drove a low free kick just outside the far post. She would make up for it a five minutes later, latching onto a wonderful chip by Ramsey and lobbing it over the onrushing keeper for the opener.
Celtic equalised within a minute of the second half kicking off, Lily McLaughlin cutting in from wide and firing home.
Keenan came under some heavy challenges and Hibs were forced into a change, but they worked a corner well which found Ramsey but her shot cracked off the bar, then Celtic broke up the other end and won a free kick on the edge of the box, that, too was denied by the bar after the Hibs keeper got a hand to it.
The game looked to be heading to extra time as the teams jousted for control of the midfield, but Ramsey would prove matchwinner, driving home from a diagonal pass from 25 yards to send the cup back to Leith.
The 16s final was full of excellent football from both sides, with Hamilton Academical taking the game to league and Scottish Youth Cup holders Hearts. Indeed, it was Accies who had double-winning Hearts on the back foot in the early stages, utilising the high press to good effect in midfield and the Hamilton wingers looking lively going forward. A resolute Hearts defence managed a goal saving tackle in the box after 26 minutes.
As the half neared its conclusion, commanding Hamilton keeper Emma Thomson came out bravely to charge down a strike by Izzy Young, ensuring it was goalless at the break.
But it was Hearts who emerged for the second half hungrier, Jessica Husband cutting in on the right with a great finish into the far corner.
Hearts were starting to pull the strings through Olivia Chomczuk, and on 53 minutes Young burst free and her shot beat Thomson but rebounded off the upright and the keeper did well to smother it.
But shortly afterwards, Hearts would double their lead through Emily Shanks with a rocket into the top bins. And with Hamilton working hard through 22 to get back into the game, Hearts would add a third through Amelie Chomczuk, cutting into the box and controlling brilliantly before poking home to secure an impressive treble for this young Hearts side.