Celtic suffered a rough return to SWPL action today vs Glasgow City as the visitors took a 3-0 success from K Park.
The match represented a return for Celtic Women after a three-month absence stretching back to January. With the Covid pandemic having a serious effect on the women’s season, their return to action was highly anticipated.
But for Celtic, it would become a damp squib. The Hoops largely struggled to hurt the City back-line and their 3-0 win could have ended with a higher margin of victory.
Manager Fran Alonso provided four new Ghirls with their debuts. Forward Mariah Lee and midfielder Anna Filbey joined striker Jacynta Galabadaarachchi in making their first starts. Izzy Atkinson, meanwhile, came on for the final half-hour. Unfortunately, it would largely be one to forget.
Celtic came into the game only two points behind Glasgow City in the table. But it was the visiting side that seized the initiative and looked the tidier in possession.
The first goal of the game came on 21 minutes when Nicole Robertson outmuscled the Celtic defence to squeeze home from a deep cross.
Celtic full of energy but little attacking threat
The Hoops were far too loose with their control in the middle of the pitch. This led to a plethora of basic turnovers and allowed Glasgow to easily settle into the contest. Lisa Robertson was the only one showing some good drive, but the final ball was often lacking as Celtic just didn’t commit enough numbers forward to hurt the opposition.
Much of this simply came from the fact Lee was far too isolated as the most advanced attacker. There weren’t enough runners from midfield to give the Glasgow City defence something else to think about. That’s despite the fact the American was generally sharp when she received the ball.
For large spells, Celtic managed to restrict Glasgow fairly well. But tired legs seemed to show in the closing stages as City got more and more joy. Add that to generally poor quality when in possession – it was a rough afternoon for Celtic.
In the second 45, Alonso’s Ghirls consistently tried to pass out from the back. Whilst it was admirable, it got them into plenty of trouble. Whether it was nerves of the big return or just a lack of concentration, Glasgow managed to nip the ball on more than one occasion from the struggling green-and-white defence.
Celtic did try to get more bodies forward as the second half wore on. However, as they shifted their mindset to go more direct, the ball was often aimless and nowhere near the players in the final third.
The second goal came just as the match looked to be petering out. A corner from the left saw Arna Sif Asgirmsdottir power home a free header in off the post. The third arrived minutes later through Niamh Farrelly, who found space in the box to slam home from close-range.
Alonso was clearly missing Natalie Ross, Celtic’s top goalscorer, who could’ve perhaps provided the attacking threat that was missing throughout.
But ultimately, the result moves Glasgow five points clear of Alonso’s team and level with Rangers, who won 6-0 at Hearts earlier today. However, with 13 games remaining between now and the end of the season, there remains plenty of time for the Hoops to get their title-run back on track.