(Napier 9, Boyle 15, Cornet 46)
Following a 3-0 defeat away to Hibernian, Celtic are still in joint second place with the Edinburgh side, but have played a game more than the team from the capital.
Report / Image: Celtic FC
Celtic were up against it early on as Jamie Lee Napier and Rachael Boyle scored within the opening 15 minutes, before a cruel deflection inside the first minute of the second half sealed the win for the Edinburgh side.
In the opening stages, the keepers saw a lot of the ball as both sides fought to get a grip of the game. Celtic’s best early chance came in the third minute as Keeva Keenan found Kathleen McGovern in the middle, whose great first touch awarded her time to release Rachel Donaldson out wide, but the ball back in eventually came to nothing.
In the ninth minute though, Napier picked up Boyle’s through ball in a pocket of space behind the Celtic defence, to break into the box and slot past Chloe Logan in goal.
Shortly after Hibs’ opener, the Celts were unfortunate not to take it to level terms when Sarah Ewens linked up well with McGovern to force a corner.
Josephine Giard’s initial shot was blocked by Chelsea Cornet, before Rachael O’Neill’s effort landed on the top of the net with 12 minutes on the clock.
However, by the quarter-hour mark, Hibs had a two goal cushion over the Hoops. Shannon Leishman won the ball in the middle of the park to pick out Napier again in space down the right, who turned provider to cross in for Boyle for the volley.
Celtic weren’t without their chances, though, with Danielle Cox heading a Keenan free-kick wide, Ewens calling Jenna Fife into action with a stinging shot from distance and Chloe Craig delivering a free-kick into the area all within the first half-hour.
With four minutes left until the break, Giard did well to round Fife, but was brought down in a tangle of Hibs bodies before the danger was cleared and play continued, despite the attacker’s protests.
The Hoops were dealt a hammer blow in the opening minute of the second half. Leishman and Cornet combined down their left-hand side before the final shot deflected in off Kelsey Hodges, leaving the Celts with a real uphill battle to turn around.
With 15 minutes left, substitutes Emma Craig and Kodie Hay both did well on Celtic’s right with Craig battling well to cut in at the byline and Hay crossing in, but neither crosses were converted. With time running out, Craig sent another deep cross in, this time for Donaldson, but her powerful effort was met by a good stretching save from Fife, meaning Celtic would leave the capital empty handed.
With five games of the season left, the race for second place heats up even further.
Celtic play Spartans on Sunday September 29 at Ainslie Park, Edinburgh.
Celtic: Logan, Keenan, Ross (E Craig), C Craig, Giard, Ewens, Donaldson, Clark (Smart), Cox, O’Neill (Hodges), McGovern (Hay)
Subs: Cunningham, McLaughlin