Underdogs set sights on SSE Scottish Women’s Cup shocks


This Sunday will see five Scottish Women’s Football League (SWFL) sides enter the last 16 of the SSE Scottish Women’s Cup. Three of those sides take on SWPL opposition but one SWFL team will be in the draw for the Quarter-Finals. We look ahead to all their matches:

East Fife v St Johnstone
King George V Park, Leven – 12:30 KO

East Fife have been given one of the better draws at this stage in the competition. They face SWPL 2 side, St Johnstone, who currently sit third in the league. East Fife, who were an SWPL 2 team themselves last year, ran St Johnstone (known as Jeanfield Swifts) close in their home tie. The match on the 25th June 2017 finished 2-3 to St Johnstone, who also won the other two matches in the league.

“We were quite keen to draw a team from a higher division,” said East Fife Club Secretary, Liz Anderson. “We have played St Johnstone quite a few times over the past few years and know how good they are. They have a very strong squad full of experience and quite a few very talented young players. I think any player that would rather play a team they are expected to beat are not ambitious enough. Games like this are superb learning experiences for any team.

“We will definitely be considered underdogs given the levels both teams currently play at and many would consider a gulf between the two clubs. We have worked really hard to build a club that can compete well at senior and youth levels and it is something we are very proud of. I always think players give you more when considered underdogs as they have nothing to fear and really nothing to lose, so as long as everyone sticks to the plan and works hard, we will give ourselves a chance.”

Speaking about reaching this stage of the competition, Liz added, “We are obviously delighted to reach the last 16 of the Scottish Cup. We are always keen to test ourselves against top teams but also just love to get more games in a season. I cannot recall too many times where we have made it to the last 16 so for our club it’s another chance to inspire young girls in our area.”

Kelty Hearts v Celtic
Bath Street, Kelty – 14:30 KO

It’s another tough game for an SWFL side, with Kelty Hearts drawn to SWPL 1 side, Celtic. However, the SWFL Division 2 East side will be happy at the fact they’ve got the home advantage and, similar to Dundee United, for the experience they’ll gain as they battle for the SWFL Division 2 East title.

“We are in our first season at Kelty Hearts CC and are really enjoying the experience,” said Douglas Mutter, Kelty Hearts Womens’ Club Secretary. “To get to the last 16 of the Scottish Cup is a huge achievement and all the ladies and everyone at the club are extremely excited to play Celtic at New Central Park.

“Celtic are one of the biggest teams in Scotland with a wealth of talent. We know how tough this game will be and we fully expect to be the underdogs but it’s a game I’m sure the players will be very much looking forward too.

“As always, Kelty Hearts CC will prepare the best we can for the match and give 100% on the day. We have a great team spirit and hope to do the best we can. Win, lose, or draw, we hope to come off the pitch with our heads held high and do our club proud!”

Edinburgh Caledonia v Renfrew
Meggetland, Edinburgh – 13:00 KO

Two SWFL sides meet at the last 16 stage, meaning we’ll have at least one in the Quarter-Finals. Edinburgh Caledonia of SWFL Division 2 East take on SWFL Division 1 South side, Renfrew. While Renfrew might be the favourites, they won’t be taking the home side lightly. They produced a shock in the last round, defeating Queens Park 6-4, a side who are level on points with Renfrew in their league.

“We were promoted a couple of years ago and know that in one-off cup games, upsets are possible,” said Alan Liddell, Club Secretary of Renfrew. “We had a few ourselves when we were in SWFL 2. We won’t look down on Edinburgh Caledonia because they play at a level below us, and we’ll expect a competitive game. It is good to avoid one of the big teams at this stage and, like ourselves, they’ll look upon this match as very winnable.

“We can’t take anything for granted. If we play at the level we can, we’ll have a great chance of progressing. If not, we will make things hard for ourselves. In the 1st round, we had to come from behind to beat SWFL 2 side United Glasgow, winning 3-2, so we know it won’t be easy. We’ll prepare the best we can, work hard for each other, and see where it takes us.”

Edinburgh Caledonia Club Secretary, Kim Redpath, said, “Given Renfrew are in the division above us, we will be considered as underdogs but that doesn’t faze us. We will do as we always do and focus on preparing as well as we can.

“Any team is going to prove difficult, but we remain confident in our team and our abilities. We know it will be a tough game, against a good side with a lot of experience but we have confidence we can challenge them.”

Speaking about their victory in the previous round, Kim added, “We were delighted with the team performance. It was a great cup tie to be involved in and highlighted both the individual and team progression we’ve made. The game certainly proved entertaining for spectators with plenty of goals and we showed real character and determination to get the win. It’s great to be one of only two teams left from SWFL 2 in the draw.”

Renfrew also had an impressive last round in the competition, travelling away to Dee Ladies and winning 0-12. “It was a great performance from us”, said Alan. “We had played Dee Ladies in the SWFL Cup earlier in the season, so both teams had an idea of what to expect. However, we played really well with three players bagging hat-tricks, and keeping a clean sheet at the back. It was a long trip, but we’ve got a good group this year who work well together.

“It means a lot to us (to reach this stage). We got to the same stage of last years competition and went down 1-0 to SWPL2 side Glasgow Girls, in a very competitive match. We’ve generally done well in this competition and it’s especially pleasing given we’ve brought in a load of new players this season, with the average age of the squad being a lot lower.”

Kim concluded by saying, “We are obviously still very pleased to be in the cup. Reaching the last 16 shows how far we, as a squad have come over the past few years, with the majority of the squad are the same players that started 5 plus years ago. We are looking forward to continuing to try and progress as far as we can.”