A little bit of league history will be made on Friday as Forfar Farmington take on Hibernian in the Scottish Building Society SWPL 1. The game will be the first ever SWPL match to be broadcast live on television with BBC ALBA featuring the encounter between two of league’s top four sides.
Forfar Farmington welcome Hibernian to Station Park with the visitors locked in a battle with Glasgow City at the top of the table, where just a single goal is separating the top-two sides. The home side will be keen disrupt Hibs title hopes as they look to avenge a 6-0 defeat to the Edinburgh side the last time they met in the league.
The news that the game will be broadcast live on television is a huge boost to the women’s game in Scotland. It will also be something new for some of the players to contend with as they become the first teams to feature in a live league game in Scotland.
Forfar Farmington defender Cassie Cowper is looking forward to the league’s TV debut. She said: “It’ll definitely help the game, hopefully by reaching more people on TV will help increase the crowds that actually come to the games.”
The young defender is in her first season at Station Park and she feels she has settled in well, adding: “The girls are amazing and with Mark (Nisbet) being here it helped me settle as I knew him from when he was at Aberdeen and I always liked working with him.
“He’s just really easy to work with, he explains things really well but I also feel I can ask him anything”.
The draw of working with Nisbet was clearly a big factor in Cowper heading to Forfar after six years with Aberdeen. “I was gutted when he left Aberdeen, I felt I had really learned a lot from him both in training and during games so he was a big part in my decision to move here.”
Cowper’s side head into the game with Hibernian in fourth place, sandwiched between Celtic and Rangers. A victory on Friday would close the gap on Celtic who sit just four points ahead and the defender believes her side have had a good campaign up to this point.
“We’ve had some really good results and we fell we’re in a good position in the league but Friday will be a very hard game against a really good Hibs team.”
A tough game awaits as title-chasing Hibs arrive and the game being broadcast on national television will certainly add an extra element to proceedings.
“We’re all looking forward to it, I think after the last training session and on the day of the game the nerves will start but we’re all looking forward to showing what we can do. It’s a great opportunity to show how much work we put in and maybe show people that don’t watch women’s football how well we can play.”
Hibernian captain, Joelle Murray, says her side are also looking forward to the opportunity to continue their title chase on live TV. She said: “We’re looking forward to it, we’ve got quite a few players who are used to the exposure of being on television. There might be a few added nerves, but once the team are on the pitch, the nerves will leave.”
Murray is expecting a tough game at Forfar as her side aim to go top of league on Friday evening. “Forfar are always a stuffy opposition, they are a good team with a good manager so it will be tough. The 3G surface up there suits our style of play so we’re confident but we also respect them.”
It has been a tough season for Murray personally as injury has curtailed her involvement on the pitch. “It’s been frustrating for me as it’s tough not having a direct impact on the team. There have been a few transitional moments with changes to management and players.” The captain still kept herself involved around the team from the side-lines though, adding, “I’ve tried to be there as much as I can, even when I couldn’t train, just to stay in the environment and be around the team.”
As the season draws towards it’s conclusion, Joelle believes that her side are right where they wanted to be at the top end of the league. “The aim at the start of the season was the title and obviously we’re at the top with Glasgow. We knew how difficult it would be but I’m really proud of the team. It’s been great to sit and watch them play.”
Murray is also delighted that Friday’s game will be televised. “I didn’t think this would happen when I started out playing, credit to BBC ALBA for showing their support for the game with the international side and now by showing league games.”
Joelle see’s live coverage of Friday’s match as another positive step for the game in Scotland. “It’s an exciting time for the national game, there is a really bright future for the next generation of players and by showing live matches it gives the players the platform they deserve.”
You can watch as Cassie Cowper and her Forfar Farmington team-mates attempt to derail Hibernian and Joelle Murray’s title aspirations. The kick-off on Friday is at 19:35 and the whole game is live on BBC ALBA.