Fran Alonso’s Celtic side have a massive job to do tonight.
After results went the Ghirls’ way at the weekend, Alonso’s side have their biggest opportunity yet. Sneaking ahead of Rangers into second, Celtic could make a huge leap towards Champions League football in 21-22 with a positive result against Glasgow City.
City, 14 times SWPL Champions, are no small opponent. With a 5-point lead at the summit of the table, Laura Montgomery and Scott Booth have built a considerably strong side. Since turning professional, however, Celtic have vastly improved. Either a league title or a runners-up place would ensure Champions League qualification [UEFA]. Being at Europe’s top table would represent the sharp progress that Celtic FC Women have made.
With the match being aired on BBC Alba tonight, there’ll be plenty of attention on the top of the table clash. With a win, the Ghirls could cut into City’s lead, with some favourable fixtures to come before season’s end [SWPL]. After tonight, Fran Alonso’s side face Hearts and Spartans in quick succession.
A meeting with Rangers (P2 W2 this season) follows, before clashes with Hibs, Forfar and Motherwell. While all these games hold value, a draw or a win tonight and a victory over the Gers would surely cement Champions League status for next season.
If you wanted some intrigue in your Celtic matches, the Women are the team to watch.
Celtic FC Women are well worth watching as late-season drama unfolds
Qualification for the Champions League would be a fitting end to an excellent campaign for Celtic.
Since returning from lockdown, the Ghirls have been utterly rampant. An important last-gasp win over Rangers was followed by thumping 8-0 and 3-0 wins over Forfar Farmington and Motherwell, while Hearts and Spartans have also fallen victim to Alonso’s free-flowing, energetic side. Goals from the likes of Rachel Donaldson and Sarah Ewans have propelled Celtic, while the solid, uncompromising defending of Jodie Bartle and Chloe Craig have kept the Ghirls formidable at the back.
Second place isn’t enough at Celtic though, at any level. After scoring her winner against Rangers in April, Mariah Lee told 67 Hail Hail:
“For sure, I think some people have talked about [the league] just being between Glasgow City and Rangers. We showed last night that we’re in the competition, we’re in the thick of it. We can win the league. And we shouldn’t be out of the conversation, definitely.”
That’s why tonight is so huge. Glasgow City hold the cards at the moment, but a 5-point gap is far from insurmountable. We’ll be watching, and have a full match report following the full-time whistle.
Celtic v Glasgow City is on BBC Alba from 7.30pm tonight.