Celtic Women manager Fran Alonso on attacking rhythm and winning derbies

By Euan Davidson

April 24, 2021

You’d have to be incredibly arch not to love Celtic FC Women manager Fran Alonso.

Not only is he doing a stellar job as Celtic’s first professional, full-time manager. And, it’s not just that his side are a vastly entertaining, attacking team. It’s also true that the man himself is an outgoing, articulate manager whose players absolutely adore him.

Typically laughing and joking through another press conference, the amiable Spanish manager was talking after a massive Derby win. One that he particularly enjoyed, as he bounced up and down the Celtic Park touchline. After beating Rangers, with a dramatic Mariah Lee winner, Alonso’s focus is on keeping momentum going.

Hibs visit K-Park on Sunday [Celtic FC Women], and it’s attacking rhythm of victory over Spartans needed as much as the fighting spirit against Rangers.

67 Hail Hail asked Alonso about the attacking side of his Celtic team:

“We didn’t create much against Glasgow City. We were so much better against Hearts, but not very good. Better, but not great. Against Spartans, the chemistry between players… we’ve got these links we like to form between certain players, and you can see the chemistry between them. We talk a lot in training about non-verbal vocabulary, and I think we got so much better at that.

“[Against Rangers], the game plan was slightly different, but executed to perfection in my opinion. Great game, great game for the Women’s game in general, in the best place possible, where the most clinical team won.

“Every single training drill we do is to improve these connections. We try not to isolate the physical part, the technical part, the tactical. Every exercise we do, we try to put all the parts together. So the players can take what we do in training, and put it into our football game.

Keeva Keenan and Caitlin Hayes of Celtic FC Women / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“That’s the trick” says Fran Alonso after massive Celtic derby win

Ahead of the Rangers win, Fran Alonso claimed in a press conference that he didn’t know the key to beating our fierce rivals. So, after his side’s second consecutive Glasgow Derby win, we had to follow up.

What’s the secret to beating Rangers, then?

“I don’t know the secret [to winning derbies] to be fair. We showed unbelievable desire, unbelievable fighting spirit and ambition. We wanted to win the game.

“The magic thing this time was the fight. We had a game plan, but then the way the players executed can make the difference. When they execute it to perfection… when you say to a player ‘you’re going to score’ and the player believes it and scores? That’s the trick.”

Celtic v Hibs kicks off at 4.10pm on Sunday 25th April. Full match coverage is on BBC Alba from 4pm.

READ MORE: Celtic supporters react to last night’s managerial developments