Fran Alonso praised the belief of his Celtic players as they bounced back from last weekend’s defeat to Glasgow City with three second half goals against bottom-side Hearts.
A brace from Sarah Ewens after Rachel Donaldson’s opener returned the home side to winning ways and ensured they kept the pressure on their title rivals. Celtic’s win keeps them within five points of Scottish Building Society SWPL 1 leaders Rangers and Glasgow City.
“After a defeat the most important thing is to win the next game,” Alonso told Anyone’s Game. “And, we managed to do that today, and I think especially in the second half we played some quite good football.
“In the first half we were too passive, too conservative maybe because of the lack of confidence. But as soon as the first goal went in, we saw a different team.”
Hearts had lost 6-0 the previous week to Rangers. But, they showed much more defensive organisation and quality to frustrate the hosts at K Park. And as a result Celtic toiled in the first half; a stellar save from Ailey Tebbitt the outstanding moment and ensured the sides went in to the break goalless.
Celtic’s control of the game though was undeniable, though, and their breakthrough finally came just before the hour mark when Donaldson was left unmarked at the back post to guide the ball into the far corner.
Despite Celtic’s dominance, Hearts found chances of their own. Amelie Birse gathered a flick-on but fired over from a narrow angle.
The woodwork had twice denied the hosts before the opening goal and was tested a third time when a combination of fingertip and bar denied Jacynta Galabadaarachchi’s drive from the edge of the box. Ewens, though, showed her clinical edge and was on hand to tap the rebound past the Hearts keeper for Celtic’s second.
As the game reached the closing stages it was Ewens who put the gloss on the performance; rising highest to head home the home side’s third and seal all three points.
The result means Hearts remain at the foot of the table on goal difference.
Celtic manager Fran Alonso: “[At half-time] we said we had nothing to lose, we have to go out and impose our game, our football. I think our pressing was exceptional, everyone was defending forwards rather than dropping deep. I think we controlled the game very well.
“It was a good performance, if you compare it to the first time that we played them we had a big result [10-0] but this is a totally different team and it’s not easy. I’m pleased with the clean sheet, the victory and especially with the performance.”
Celtic: Johnstone, Bartle, Craig, Galabadaarachchi (McAneny 81), Ewens, Donaldson, Teegarden, Nicolson (McAllister 74), Atkinson (Robertson 46), Warrington, Bowie; Logan, Ross, Lee, Clark.
Heart of Midlothian: Tebbitt, Delworth, Cunningham, Hunter, Kaney, Smith, Williamson, McIntosh, Birse (Begg 82), McKay (Tweedie 56), Walkingshaw (Turner 56); Parker-Smith, Aitchison, Shepherd, Cowan.