After the international break, the SWPL returns with a full calendar and eight fascinating games, including a top of the table clash in the SWPL 2.
Aberdeen v Glasgow City
Heathryfold Park, Kick-off: 1pm
Sixth-placed Aberdeen host the SWPL 1 holders Glasgow City, who are currently in second place.
Aberdeen’s youthful side will be up for a difficult challenge against a dangerous Glasgow City side, and they will be looking to replicate their first-half performance in their last SWPL 1 game.
With the club expected to battle against the drop this season, they’ve picked up one point out of a possible six, and in both league matches, they have been the clichéd games of two halves. Against Spartans (their last home league game), they were 2-0 down at half-time, before two Hannah Stewart penalties rescued a point. Away to Hibernian, their defensive performance in the first half limited Hibs to a 1-0 lead at half-time but they were overpowered by the Edinburgh side in the second half.
Glasgow City travel up north, making their debut in their new away kit and looking to try and reclaim top spot (at least until the later kick-offs). City are currently second in the league, two points behind the leaders Hibernian. After beating Stirling University 7-0 in their opening league game, they then were held to a 1-1 draw with Celtic.
Aberdeen could climb up to fifth place with a win whilst, if results go their way, City will end up top of the SWPL 1 with a win.
Spartans v Rangers
Ainslie Park, Kick-off: 1pm
Spartans host a Rangers side looking to pick up their first points of the season.
Spartans are currently joint second in the table but due to their goal difference sit in fourth place. They’ve had a superb start to the season, including reaching the Semi-Finals of the SWPL Cup. Plus, so far in the league, they are unbeaten in 2017. Having drawn 2-2 in the opening game against Aberdeen, they picked up a 1-0 win against Hamilton Academical in their last league match. This will be their first SWPL 1 game at Ainslie Park this season and will be hoping to carry on their form that saw them beat Aberdeen 4-1 in the SWPL Cup Quarter-Final.
Rangers currently sit bottom of the table, but should not be underestimated from their start to the season. They were knocked out of the SWPL Cup Quarter-Finals by Hibernian, a team they lost to in their opening league game. However, despite going 4-0 down, they never gave up and scored two late goals. Although they lost 5-3 to Stirling University, they played the majority of the game with ten players. They are showing a true team spirit which is key as they try and finish as high up the table as possible.
Spartans could theoretically finish the day top of the table if Glasgow City and Hibernian lose and they better Celtic’s result (or scoreline). Rangers could climb up to fifth with a victory.
Celtic v Stirling University
Celtic Park, Kick-off: 4pm
Celtic get the chance to host Stirling University at Celtic Park on Sunday.
Last season, Celtic played Rangers at Celtic Park (a game they won) and once again, they get to play in a massive stadium and the home ground of Celtic’s men team. In their last game, they reached the SWPL Cup Semi-Finals after beating Hearts in the Quarter-Finals. This season, they’ve already taken points off Glasgow City after drawing 1-1 with them in the league. From the early signs, they look like they are going to be able to turn the SWPL 1 title race into a three-horse race.
However, Celtic can not take this game lightly. Last season, Stirling University caused a huge shock beating Celtic 2-1 after a thrilling end to the match. Having finished fourth last season, Stirling are currently sitting fifth after their epic 5-3 win over Rangers. This came after heavily losing their opening league game 7-0 at Glasgow City. They were also knocked out of the SWPL Cup by City in the Quarter-Finals, losing 2-0.
Celtic could finish the day top of the SWPL 1 if results go their way, whilst Stirling will go at least fourth with a win, but could potentially go second if Glasgow City and Spartans fail to win.
Hibernian v Hamilton Academical
Ainslie Park, Kick-off: 4pm
The SWPL 1 leaders Hibernian host a Hamilton Academical side yet to pick up their first point of the season.
Hibernian have had the perfect start to the season as they look to build upon 2016’s success. After beating Rangers 4-2 in their opening league game, they climbed to the top of the table after beating Aberdeen 6-0, inspired by an impressive second half display. They have also reached the Semi-Finals of the SWPL Cup, but face the difficult challenge of Glasgow City to reach the Final.
The SWPL 2 champions Hamilton may be sitting in seventh place with no points, but there is no cause for concern in their performances. Since losing to Hearts in the SWPL Cup First Round, they lost 2-1 to Celtic in the league where they were only denied a point by Megan Cunningham’s heroics. Then in their last game, they narrowly lost 1-0 to Spartans. The signs so far are that they will be able to battle against the drop this season.
Hibernian will need to win to guarantee staying top of the SWPL 1 whilst Hamilton could climb up to fifth with a win.
Jeanfield Swifts v Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale
McDiarmid Park, Kick-off: 4pm
Fifth hosts fourth as Jeanfield Swifts take on Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale (EUHV).
Jeanfield Swifts are currently on a two-game losing run, however, both of those games were against the title favourites. They lost to Forfar Farmington 2-1, conceding the winner in the 86th minute before losing 2-0 to Hearts in their last game. In that game, they failed to take their chances and were punished by a clinical Hearts team and a wonder goal from Ashley Carse.
EUHV, on the other hand, go into the game having finally picked up their first win in their last league game. Their opening two games had both ended in 2-1 defeats: their game against Glasgow Girls with Anna Hume scoring a late consolation. Against Buchan, they had gone 1-0 up before losing 2-1. But against East Fife, they picked up an impressive 3-0 win with all three of their goals coming in the first half.
This is a highly intriguing game between two teams tipped as outsiders for the title before the season had begun. With both teams on three points, whoever wins will likely end the day in fourth depending on Buchan’s winning margin in their game against East Fife.
Motherwell v Hearts
Ravenscraig, Kick-off: 4pm
Seventh-placed Motherwell host a Hearts side that has a 100% record so far in the league.
To date, Motherwell have lost all three of their games but they will be confident in changing that soon. Being promoted from the SWFL Division One up to SWPL 2 was always going to be a jump, but they’ve shown positive signs. After losing to a highly impressive Jeanfield Swifts on an opening day, they narrowly lost 2-1 to Glasgow Girls. In their last game, they may have lost to Forfar Farmington but despite going 5-0 down, they threatened to launch a late comeback, scoring three goals in the final ten minutes.
However, Hearts are a team on form. Not only were they the only SWPL 2 side to reach the SWPL Cup Quarter-Finals, they have won all three of their league games. To date, they have conceded just one goal, coming in their opening day 3-1 win over Buchan. Since then, they have defeated East Fife 1-0 before beating Jeanfield Swifts 2-0 thanks to goals from Stacey Hutchison and Ashley Carse. They currently sit in second, only behind leaders Forfar Farmington by one goal.
Motherwell could climb up to sixth with a win, whilst Hearts could move up to first with just a draw.
Glasgow Girls v Forfar Farmington
Greenfield Football Centre, Kick-off: 2pm
There is a fascinating game between two sides with 100% records as Glasgow Girls host leaders Forfar Farmington.
Both teams were expected to fight for the title, and so far, they are both living up to their billing. Last season, Glasgow Girls narrowly missed out on the title by two points, but they had started the 2016 season with hit and miss form, losing two of their opening four games. Not this season, as they have started with three straight victories. So far, all their games have been won by one-goal margins: beating EUHV 2-1, defeating Motherwell by the same scoreline before beating Buchan 1-0 in their last match.
Forfar Farmington have found their scoring boots so far in the SWPL 2, scoring ten goals in their first three matches. However, despite some comfortable scorelines, they have had tough games. They needed two late goals to beat East Fife 4-1, and they required a late goal from Cheryl Kilcoyne to beat Jeanfield Swifts. Despite going 5-0 up against Motherwell, they let in three late goals as they won 5-3. But, the fact they have scored so many goals and have yet to go behind this season show why they are leading the table.
Whoever wins will at least end the day joint-first, but could end up being leaders on their own merit depending on Hearts’ result. The loser will end the day no lower than third.
East Fife v Buchan
King George V Park, Kick-off: 1:30pm
Bottom-placed East Fife host Buchan as they look to pick up their first point of the season.
Like their fellow promoted side Motherwell, East Fife currently sit on zero points, but have to real reason to ring the panic alarm yet. At the SWPL launch, their captain Teri Skivington spoke about the desire to make King George V Park into a fortress, due to the fact that they play on grass whilst the majority of clubs in the league play on 3G. Whilst their only home game so far was against Hearts, who do play on grass, it shows this could happen as they lost narrowly 1-0.
Buchan currently sit in sixth place, with one win so far. They are generally seen as a bogey team by several of their fellow competitiors, and that tells you all you need to know about them. Buchan are a really difficult team to beat. Their only win so far was against EUHV, but they will have felt they could have at least picked up two more points, having lost to late goals against Hearts and losing 1-0 to Glasgow Girls. They will be confident of picking up another win.
East Fife could overtake Buchan with a win but would have to win by three goals. Buchan could climb up to fourth if they win.