Bartle gets her Paradise moment as Celtic make light work of Hibs
It was a different kind of day for Celtic FC Women, who took on Hibernian at Paradise in front of an eager crowd.
That crowd included Celtic season ticket holders, and the Green Brigade, who kept the noise up all the way throughout. On a beautiful sunny day in Glasgow, everything seemed perfectly set up for the Ghirls to impress new fans, and put on a show for those who’d followed the team already.
Yet, the “different” theme continued in the line-up. Charlie Wellings, a goal machine for the Celtic FC Women side, was out, along with Caitlin Hayes, an absolute mainstay under Fran Alonso. Without two key players and personalities, you wondered if it might’ve ended up being a tricky one for Celtic in front of a bumper crowd.
Instead, it took Clarissa Larisey less than a minute to delight the Parkhead faithful. Capitalising on a mistake from a Hibernian defender, Canadian striker Larisey controlled it with her thigh, lifted it over another defender, and stabbed it home. A beautiful goal, and a fantastic start.
There was nearly another opportunity, when Chance found Shen Mengyu, but the Mengyu couldn’t get the ball under control on the touchline just inside the penalty box.
Celtic were enjoying the width of the Parkhead pitch. After a good exchange between Shorts and Bartle, Larisey had a chance to chase down the ball when it came towards the Hibs keeper. She got the better of the exchange, but the wall went harmlessly out.
The first 25 minutes, despite that early goal, were equally balance in terms of possession. That was, until Jacynta found Olivia Chance in space inside the box, who comfortably dispatched to make it 2-0. It was an Antipodean goal for Celtic FC Women, with an Australian setting up a New Zealander.
The Australian could’ve made it 3. Shen Mengyu found Jacynta in space, but McAlonie managed to hound the former West Ham midfielder to get a block in. Still, 2-0, and it was looking good for Celtic.
Celtic FC Women keep the pressure on and Jodie Bartle gets her Paradise moment
The second half began as the first ended; with immense pressure from Celtic.
Chloe Craig nearly got a fantastic goal, one she absolutely deserved having come through the Celtic Women set-up from an early age. However, Hibernian goalkeeper English made an excellent finger-tip save. A corner ensued.
If Hibs thought the danger had been extinguished, not a chance. Jodie Bartle rose brilliantly to meet Sarah Harkes’ corner, and her bullet header gave English no chance. It was brilliant. The English full-back relished the moment, letting out a scream and heading right to the Green Brigade to celebrate [Celtic FC Women].
If anyone embodies the spirit of Alonso’s side, it’s surely Bartle. You could tell how massive a moment this was for her, and she took it with utter aplomb.
The pressure continued. Another corner didn’t quite yield the same result, but by now, Hibs were camped in their own half.
The Hibees, in fairness, did manage to get more of a foothold around the hour mark. They were able to pass with more precision, putting moves together, but the Celtic defence wouldn’t relent. As they huffed and puffed, though, the Celtic supporters refrain of “Celtic… come on you ghirls in Green” summed up the day.
This was all about Celtic FC Women, today. And what a showcase it was for the Women’s team on such a beautiful day at Celtic Park.
Shen and Harkes, both excellent on the day, came off for Ferguson and Toland on the 69th minute mark, with Fran Alonso clearly wanting to send these supporters home even happier. A hilariously bad refereeing decision denied Larisey a blatant free kick, after Murray bundled the Canadian down from behind. No card was given, despite Murray’s very clear foul on the last woman.
Never mind; Celtic were playing some vintage stuff. Olfasdottir Gros’ great run was nearly rewarded on the 82nd minute, but good closing down from English saw the Icelandic star hit her shot just wide. But if the crowd wanted more, they got it. Chloe Warrington, a Celtic Academy product, got the finish after Larisey’s initial effort snaked into Warrington’s path. Cue “Freed From Desire” by Gala.
A great day for the Ghirls at Paradise
All in, this was more than worth doing. Fantastic moments aplenty for the Ghirls, with four great goals in front of a loud Celtic Park crowd.
What an inspiration for the young girls in attendance. Now they know that with hard work, they too can play at Celtic Park. Just like their heroes, Celtic Academy graduates Chloe Warrington, Chloe Craig and Kelly Clark.
With the backing of supporters, and even the Green Brigade in attendance, the appetite is clearly there. Hopefully, there’ll be even bigger crowds next time; and next time comes soon.
More of this please, Celtic. Even getting the Celtic FC Women side playing in Glasgow would be a huge boost.
For now at least, it’s a big, big win, and a huge moment for Fran Alonso’s side.