Rangers Ladies suffered defeat in the opening game of the Scottish Women’s Premier League as they fell to a 4-2 loss at the hands of Hibernian Ladies at New Tinto Park.
Last season’s double cup winners scored three goals in the first half which left Rangers with a mountain to climb. Hibs scored another after the break before Rangers’ efforts were rewarded with two goals of their own.
Clare Gemmell curled in a superb freekick and Hannah Robertson showed tremendous composure to capatalise on a one-on-one opportunity. It wasn’t to be however, for a Rangers team who were depleted due to injuries and International call ups.
Hibs thought they had opened the scoring inside the first couple of minutes, but the assistant referee’s flag came to Rangers’ rescue.
Rangers came inches to opening the scoring through Robertson. The striker did well to wrestle a chance while being under heavy pressure. Her shot went a couple of agonising inches wide of the goal. A good shout for a penalty too as the Hib’s defender appeared to have more than a handful of Robertson’s shirt, the referee decided there was no infringement.
Twenty one minutes on the clock and a quick fire double put Rangers two goals behind. Abi Harrison got in behind the Rangers defence to slot pass Jordan Elliot. Lucy Graham then got on the end of a cross ball to score a glancing header to double the visitors lead.
Hibs extended their lead on the half hour mark. A deep cross found Siobhan Hunter free at the back post who tapped home. It was becoming a frustrating day for the Light Blues.
In the second half, Elliot pulled off a couple of great saves to keep the score down. Chelsie Watson came close to pulling one back, but her headed effort, from a corner, went wide.
Graham got her second, and Hibs’ fourth, after a fine finish from the edge of the box. Hibs were showing why they were so successful the previous campaign.
Rangers then staged a late fight back as the Blue Belles got the goals that their efforts merited. A free kick on the edge of the Hibs’ box was left by Watson for Gemmell. The Rangers captain sent a beautiful curling effort past the wall and into the bottom corner of the net. A fantastic goal to spur the team on.
There was another chance for the crowd to cheer as Robertson scored Rangers second goal of the game. Claire Adams played a perfectly weighted through ball to Robertson. With only the ‘keeper to beat, Robertson kept her composure and sent the ball into the back of the net. Another fine goal for Rangers and proof that they could mix things with Hibs when they were on their game.
Ultimately, the fight back came just a little too late for Rangers. However, there was plenty of positives to take and plenty to build on going forward.
Rangers have a chance to bounce back next Sunday when they travel for their first away game to take on Stirling University at the University Sports Ground.
Reported by David Marshall
Pic: Rangers FC