Match Report by Campbell Finlayson and photo via @GlasgowCityFC on Twitter.
Glasgow City ensured there would be no Russian hangover with an impressive win away at fellow SWPL 1 side Celtic at K-Park in the SSE Scottish Women’s Cup quarter-finals.
City were in UEFA Women’s Champions League action against Chertanovo in Moscow on Wednesday but showed no signs of tiredness with goals from Leanne Ross and Kirsty Howat securing a 2-0 win.
Celtic began the game on the front foot and gave City a warning in the opening seconds with Sarah Ewens flashing a ball across the face of goal, but there were no takers in the middle.
The hosts’ fast start soon fizzled out though with City taking the upper hand in the early stages with a Hayley Lauder header and Clare Shine volley going just wide of the post, all in the opening five minutes.
Kirsty Howat then saw her shot tipped over the bar by Megan Cunningham in the Celtic goal before the visitors missed a glorious chance to take the lead. Howat squared for Shine but the Irish forward managed a fresh air swipe at the ball from ten yards out before it fell the way of Leanne Crichton who volleyed over.
With all of that action coming in the first ten minutes, it was of no surprise when the game eventually settled down to a slower pace, with City controlling the ball against a nervy looking Celtic side.
Lauder had a good chance to take the lead when she dragged her shot into the side netting before Howat’s low effort midway through the half was pushed round the post by Cunningham, although the ball did appear to be heading wide in the first place.
The one way traffic continued and with nine minutes to go to the break, the deadlock was finally broken. Cheryl McCulloch brought down Shine on the attack and Leanne Ross stepped up to bend a fantastic free-kick over the wall and into the net via the underside of the bar.
Scott Booth’s side had one final chance before the break, but Rachel McLauchlan was unable to convert Nicola Docherty’s cross as City lead at half-time.
They had a great opportunity to double their lead at the start of the second period when the ball fell to Shine at the back post, with the striker blazing the ball over the bar.
Jenna Clark then missed a header from close range soon after, before City almost gifted Celtic a way back into the game. Carly Girasoli came on for Crichton on the hour mark and her first involvement saw her short with her header back to Lee Alexander, but the keeper was out quick to deny Kathleen McGovern an equaliser for the Celts.
That save would prove crucial just a minute later when City moved two goals in front. McLauchlan played a lovely ball through for Howat who took the shot on early from the edge of the area, bending it beyond Cunningham into the net.
Celtic did begin to threaten a bit more with Ewens proving to be their danger player, first sending a powerful shot into the side netting from distance before cutting inside and firing a shot over the bar just a minute later.
Jordan McLintock should have made it three for City after coming off the bench; however, she didn’t make a great connection with the ball and scuffed a shot straight at Cunningham.
The new drop ball rule is still causing confusion for many players but McGovern was aware of how it works and almost used it to her advantage with 12 minutes to go when she moved quickly to take a shot at the City goal, her effort landing on the roof of the net.
In the end though, Celtic couldn’t find a way through a resolute City defence as the SWPL 1 leaders secured their place in Tuesday’s second round draw, where they’ll be joined by Rangers, Motherwell and holders Hibs after their wins elsewhere on Sunday.
Celtic: Cunningham; Craig, Cox, McCulloch, Keenan; Donaldson (Hay, 81), Smart, O’Neill (McLaughlin, 66), Ewens; McGovern, Giard
Glasgow City: Alexander; McLauchlan, Clark, McSorley, Docherty; Ross, Crichton (Girasoli, 60), Love; Lauder (Foley 60), Shine, Howat (McLintock, 68)