By Tim Oliver
Hibernian will look to defend the SWPL Cup for the first time in their history as they face Celtic in the first major cup final of the season. Standing in their way is a very strong and dangerous Celtic side who are looking to continue their impressive run to the SWPL Cup final, and who would like to add to their 2010 victory which is their one and only previous final.
Last year’s final was an absolutely epic game with Hibernian beating their domestic rivals Glasgow City with a last-gasp winner from Lizzie Arnot, the first of two cups they won in 2016. There was a degree of similarity in how they reached the 2017 final. The match against Glasgow City was tense and nervy and it looked like it was going to penalties before Abi Harrison managed to deflect a Siobhan Hunter shot into the net deep into extra-time.
Previously, the holders’ run to the final had been a little simpler. They beat SWPL 2 side East Fife 6-0 in the First Round before defeating Rangers 5-0 in the Quarter-Finals.
Celtic do not have the same history as Hibernian in terms of silverware, nor finals. In fact, since the SWPL was formed for the 2002-03 season, they’ve only reached two finals, the other being the 2008 Scottish Cup where they lost to Hibs in extra-time. But, they are a very strong side and one full of very talented players who are looking to break into Europe this season.
Celtic’s run to the final began with a narrow 1-0 win over Forfar Farmington and they played another SWPL 2 side in the Quarter-Finals, beating Hearts 4-1. They were pushed all the way in the Semi-Final by a determined Spartans side but ended up being victorious 2-1 to reach their first final since beating the same team in the 2010 SWPL Cup Final.
This season, the two sides have already met twice in the SWPL 1. Both games have been tense matches, but Hibernian have won both. These have been Celtic’s only defeats this season.
Tickets for the Final at Broadwood Stadium are £5 for adults, £2 concessions, and kids under 12 go free! If you can’t make the game, it will be broadcast live on BBC Alba from 16:00.