By Tim Oliver
Sunday sees seven Scottish Building Society SWPL matches, as well as the remaining SSE Scottish Cup Third Round match between Hibernian and Celtic.
Scottish Building Society SWPL 1
Glasgow City v Hamilton Academical
Excelsior Stadium, Kick-off: 1pm
The SBSSWPL 1 champions, Glasgow City, entertain Hamilton Academical at the Excelsior Stadium with both teams coming into the game off the back of goalless draws.
Glasgow City were in mid-week action against Stirling University but were frustrated by Stirling’s defensive display, with City creating numerous opportunities. It means that they are just one point behind leaders Hibernian, and as the Edinburgh club is on SSE Scottish Cup duty, City will have played one more game than their title rivals after today. However, the two clubs play on Wednesday so Glasgow City will be aware of the importance of the next four days.
Hamilton Academical, who came so close to a shock result against City back in April, will be arriving two points clear of the relegation place after drawing 0-0 with Spartans last Sunday. In that game, they defended well and had the better chances in the second half but lacked the clinical edge in the final third. But, they showed that they are capable of the fighting against relegation.
This is the third game between the two sides in the SBSSWPL 1, with Glasgow City winning both matches 3-1. If Glasgow City win, they will go top (a draw will see them go joint top), whilst Hamilton need to draw to guarantee to stay in seventh.
Stirling University v Rangers
Stirling University, Kick-off: 2pm
Stirling University host Rangers in a repeat of the SSE Scottish Cup Third Round, a match won by Rangers 4-2.
Both of these sides are on coming into this game on a high. Stirling University produced a magnificent defensive display to draw with Glasgow City last Wednesday, and last Sunday they beat Aberdeen. This has seen them move up to third in the table, although, they have played two more games than the teams around them.
Rangers travel to Stirling after beating Celtic 2-1 last Sunday and sit five points behind Stirling University. They know they are definitely in the battle for third, and continue to show improvement under Head Coach Amy McDonald. They will look to continue that form against Stirling.
Stirling have won both of the league encounters to date, winning 5-3 and 3-2, but Rangers won the recent encounter in the SSE Scottish Cup.
Stirling University need to win to guarantee staying in third place and could drop down to fourth if Spartans win their match. Rangers will overtake Celtic into fifth with a win, and could climb as high as fourth.
Aberdeen v Spartans
Heathryfold Park, Kick-off: 4pm
Eighth-placed Aberdeen host fourth-placed Spartans in the late kick-off.
Aberdeen is a side that need points as they sit in the relegation spot, two points behind Hamilton Academical and haven’t picked up a point since May. But, both their points have come at home and they will take confidence from the fact that one of those points came in a draw with Spartans.
Spartans, though, will be travelling up north full of confidence. They sit fourth after a goalless draw with Hamilton Academical and will be looking to climb the table as they fight for third place. They also travel north in the knowledge that they are unbeaten on their travels this season with three wins and one draw in the league.
The earlier game between the sides ended in a 2-2 draw. Aberdeen could move up to seventh with a win and if Hamilton lose. Spartans could climb up to third, if Stirling fails to win, but could drop down to fifth if they lose and Rangers win with a four goal-swing.
East Fife v Motherwell
King George V Park, Kick-off: 12:30pm
Eight-placed East Fife host a Motherwell side fighting for the SWPL 2 title.
Last Sunday, East Fife lost a key game against Buchan 3-2, leaving them 12 points behind sixth-placed Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale. With East Fife having just eight games left (they’ve played one less match compared to the majority of teams), they need to pick up points soon if they are to beat the drop. They’ve been close to picking up wins and draws in recent matches, so this does seem possible.
They are playing a Motherwell side that is unbeaten in their past 11 league matches, the best run in the SWPL 2. Sitting six points behind the leaders Forfar Farmington, they will be disappointed to have dropped points in their draw with Glasgow Girls as Forfar also drew in their match. However, they will arrive at East Fife with the belief that they can still win the title.
The two games between the two sides have been close affairs. The game played at King George V Park ending in a 1-1 draw, with Motherwell winning the game played at their home ground 1-0.
East Fife are four points behind seventh-placed Buchan and therefore will remain eighth, regardless of the result. But a win, or draw, could close the gap on sixth and safety. Motherwell will also remain in second, regardless of the result.
Glasgow Girls v Forfar Farmington
Greenfield Football Centre, Kick-off: 2pm
Glasgow Girls host the SWPL 2 leaders Forfar Farmington.
Glasgow Girls are currently sitting in third place and 11 points behind Forfar Farmington but their game in hand over the teams above them means that Glasgow Girls still have an outside chance of the title. If that outside chance is still to exist, they need to beat Forfar. Glasgow Girls are currently on a five-game unbeaten run, and last Sunday fought back from 2-0 down to draw 3-3 with Motherwell.
Forfar Farmington scored a late equaliser against Jeanfield Swifts to draw 1-1 and maintain their six-point lead at the top of the SWPL 2. They are currently taking the season one game at the time and are playing brilliant football, which has them on a three-game unbeaten run.
Forfar Farmington have won both of the games between the two sides this season in the SWPL 2, winning 2-0 and 3-0. Both sides will remain in their current positions, regardless of the result, but the score could have an impact on both sides season.
Buchan v Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale
Maud Juniors, Kick-off: 2pm
Buchan host Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale (EUHV) in a key game at the bottom of the SWPL 2.
Last Sunday’s win over East Fife means that Buchan still have a chance of escaping the relegation zone, sitting eight points behind EUHV. That victory ended a terrible run of form and means that a win today will keep alive their hopes of remaining an SWPL side.
EUHV will be travelling up to Buchan with the hope of returning with three points. Their 1-0 win over Hearts last Sunday means that they can now look at moving up the table. A win against Buchan would all but guarantee their safety in SBSSWPL 2, and would mean that they would be able to completely focus on getting a top-four place.
Buchan will remain in seventh regardless of the result, whilst EUHV could move up one place to fifth. Back in March, Buchan beat EUHV at home 2-1 whilst EUHV were 3-0 victors in the reverse fixture back in May.
Jeanfield Swifts v Hearts
McDiarmid Park, Kick-off: 4pm
In the late kick-off, Jeanfield Swifts host Hearts with the winner guaranteed to end the day in fourth place. Just one point and one place separate the sides.
Jeanfield Swifts have played the top two SBSSWPL 2 sides in the past two matches and both times came agonisingly close to getting a better result than they eventually did. Last Sunday, they were minutes away from beating Forfar Farmington, only for the leaders to score a late equaliser.
Hearts, in the meantime, lost last Sunday to Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale. This means that even an outside chance of the title is gone, and their target will be to finish as high up the table as possible. Their focus today will be on ending their run of losing three league games.
This season, it has been one win a piece, with Hearts winning the first game 2-0 and Jeanfield winning the other 1-0. Hearts cannot end the day higher than their current position of fourth but need to draw to stay in that position. Jeanfield needs to win to move up to fourth place and could drop to sixth if they draw or lose.
SSE Scottish Cup
Hibernian v Celtic
Ainslie Park, Kick-off: 1pm
After their Champions League Qualifying Group, where unfortunately Hibernian finished as runners-up, the SSE Scottish Cup holders return to domestic action by taking on Celtic at Ainslie Park.
This marks the start of an important seven days for Hibernian as they try and win the domestic treble. Of course, they have already won the SWPL Cup, beating Celtic. On Wednesday, they face Glasgow City in a huge game in the battle for the SBSSWPL 1 title. How the week ends though, depends on whether they can beat Celtic as the winner of the tie will be at home on the 10th of September against SBSSWPL 2 side Glasgow Girls.
In the meantime, Celtic will be wanting to reach the Quarter-Finals as they look to reach their second domestic final of the season. Last Sunday’s defeat to Rangers in SBSSWPL 1 saw them drop down to fifth place, and they will also be looking to get revenge on Hibernian for the defeat in the SWPL Cup Final.
So far, in the three games between the sides this season, Hibernian have beaten Celtic each time.