SWPL Cup Semi-Final Review
There was a feeling of déjà vu as Hibernian and Celtic were confirmed as the SWPL Cup finalists for a second year in a row. It’ll be an all green final after Hibs saw off Glasgow City with a 3-1 win while Celtic, who were worked hard by Forfar Farmington for large parts of the game, eventually made their pressure tell with a 4-1 victory.
Hibernian will now have a chance to win the trophy for a third year in a row and to match Glasgow City’s record haul of six titles. For Celtic, they’ll be looking to go one better than their 4-1 loss last year. If they do, it’ll be their first SWPL Cup trophy since 2010.
Speaking after their win over Glasgow City, Hibernian Caretaker Head Coach, Grant Scott, said, “I thought it was a strong performance. I said to the girls at the end, I thought we rode our luck at times. We had a couple of scares in around the goalmouth, predominantly from set-pieces, so something we can do better on.
“Overall, I thought we grew in stature as the game went on. In the first half, it took us until the middle of half to really impose ourselves. Thereafter, you’ve got to really respect the threat that City have but I thought we managed that quite well today.”
While Hibernian were 3-0 up within 46 minutes, the game could have been quite different. With 13 minutes gone, Christie Murray was brought down in the box for a penalty. Thankfully, for Hibs, Hannah Reid palmed away Leanne Ross’ penalty to keep the score at 0-0.
Speaking about how important the save was, Scott said, “I think that was quite big. It just seemed to galvanize the team as these things often do. It seemed to give them the belief. You get those moments and you just think it’s maybe our day. I think that’s probably one of them and the players seemed to grow afterwards. It was really important for us.”
Hibs went into the break with a 2-0 lead and added their third with only seconds gone in the half. “To get a goal that early, especially in the second half, just gives us a cushion” said Scott. “You know the risks and dangers that City have got and it’s only a matter of time before they get at you. To have that extra cushion was great.
“Credit to the players for getting themselves in that position and taking these chances. I don’t think we had a lot of shots on goal other than the goals, so clinical finishing was really important.”
The hat-trick hero, Abi Harrison, added, “It’s a great day, personally, you take it when it comes. The bigger picture is that we’re into the final. We also had a penalty save and as a ‘keeper, that’s up there with a hat-trick, so we’ll take it all.
“I think we let them dictate the speed of play, which was a bit disappointing. After the penalty save, I think we were all on top through the first half. I think, especially, coming out in the second half and getting that third goal was vital. It gave us a bit of breathing space.”
After the win there was also talks about Scott Grant and his position at the club. He remains as Caretaker Head Coach of Hibernian and has helped his team to find good form from his three games in charge. They’ve drawn with City and beat Celtic in the Scottish Building Society SWPL, whilst also reaching the SWPL Cup Final.
Speaking about the possibility of taking the role on a permanent basis, he said, “I think the honest answer is yes, I would (like to stick around). But it’s credit to the players who have had to put up with the change as well. If I was offered it, I probably would take the post.”
The favourites coming into the second match, Celtic, didn’t have it particularly easy against Forfar Farmington with the game tied at 1-1 at half-time. Speaking afterwards, Celtic Manager, David Haley, said, “We made it difficult for ourselves. I thought we started really positively and then we’ve made life difficult for ourselves in the second half of the first 45 minutes. Credit to them (the Celtic players), they’ve come out in the second half and thoroughly deserved it. It’s good to get to another final.
“As much as the squad is a wee bit depleted with injuries with one or two missing from today, the young players stepped up. I thought Rachel Donaldson did very well today and Collette Cavanagh was very good. They’re all good players and it’s a good squad that we’ve got.”
The final is back at The Falkirk Stadium on Sunday 20th of May. The game is scheduled for a 2 pm kick-off, with entry available on the gate at £5 for adults and £2 for children/concessions.