Celtic Champions League charge goes from strength to strength after SWPL win

By David Walton

April 25, 2021

Celtic continued their impressive run in the SWPL with a fine turnaround win against Hibernian this afternoon.

Fran Alonso’s Ghirls had to show tremendous character against the fifth-placed Hibees to keep tabs on Glasgow City and Rangers at the top of the table.

Both of Celtic’s title rivals had won earlier the way with convincing successes. Glasgow City’s 4-0 win at Hearts was followed up with Rangers destroying Forfar Farmington 11-0. But the Hoops always had the toughest fixture of the day, and they were made to show their inner strength.

Fresh off a 1-0 win at Parkhead against Rangers on Wednesday night, Alonso’s side slipped behind on 24 minutes thanks to an Amy Gallacher free-kick. Goalkeeper Chloe Logan should’ve done better however as it squirmed in after she had gotten a touch.

This came after a slow start from Celtic. Hibs were winning far too many of the second balls without creating much in the final third. Despite the general lack of threat from the visitors, however, they had the lead and Celtic weren’t creating enough.

Celtic 2-1 Aberdeen | LIVE Reaction

But Alonso’s side got the break they needed before half-time. Lisa Robertson, impressive throughout, put in one of several dangerous balls into the Hibs penalty area. It fell to Kate Nicholson inside the penalty area, and she managed to superbly turn and strike the ball into the bottom far corner. 1-1 and just the boost Celtic needed.

Celtic send Hibernian packing with convincing SWPL comeback win

The hosts were clearly buoyed by the equaliser as they began dictating the game and keeping the ball from Hibs. This frustrated the Hibees, who would give away a clumsy penalty on 53 minutes. Again Robertson was providing the spark from the midfield as she gave the ball to Mariah Lee. After firing at goal, the referee gave a handball against Hibs. Chloe Craig buried the penalty to complete the turnaround.

You could see the confidence radiate off Celtic after the second. And their one-goal advantage was quickly doubled minutes later. Quick feet again from Lee allowed her to cross low for Sarah Ewens to blast high into the net.

From there, there was never any doubt. Outside of a few frustrating fouls that broke up the play, Celtic were comfortable and without much error. Hibs tried to get at the Hoops by stretching the byline down the flanks. However, Celtic remained disciplined and stuck to their task.

Celtic FC Women head coach Fran Alonso / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

In the end, the three points were secured in convincing fashion. Such a comfortable win over Hibernian Women, such a solid force at this level, is yet more vindication of the work Alonso is doing.

As for the SWPL, Celtic remain two points behind second-placed Rangers and seven behind Glasgow City. With the top two teams qualifying for the first round of the Champions League, Alonso will have his sights set on that goal this season.

Next up for Celtic is a trip to Forfar Farmington next week. Forfar managed to bag a 2-2 draw at K-Park the last time the two sides met. Hopefully, the Ghirls can continue their march and ensure a repeat doesn’t happen next Sunday.

In other news, Celtic have left themselves open to a major July concern.