Image: Celtic FC
In a game played largely between the penalty areas, the best of the few scoring chances fell to Celtic but they had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
Both teams showed attacking intent, but the midfield was packed and the challenges were instant, making it extremely difficult to create goalscoring opportunities.
Rangers had the first attempt on goal from a free kick early on, but the shot proved no trouble to Celtic keeper, Emily Mutch.
For Celtic, Sarah Crilly was looking lively, putting in good challenges and using her pace to attack, but she was unable to create any real danger for Rangers.
After 15 minutes, the Rangers’ goalkeeper was first called into action when she parried a curling shot from Sarah Ewens, earning the Hoops a corner. Ewens took the resulting kick but it was easily cleared by the visiting defence.
Gradually Celtic were gaining the upper hand, with Rangers finding it difficult to threaten the home goal. The Hoops came very close to the opener after 33 minutes when a powerful header by Claire Crosbie following a corner was pushed round the post by Ramsay at full stretch.
The scoresheet remained blank at half-time, although the large crowd had been entertained by a fierce midfield struggle. Celtic’s captain, Kelly Clark was their best player and inspiration in midfield, and striker Sarah Ewens’ clever running kept the Rangers defence on their toes.
The second period began with Rangers thrusting forward on several occasions and within the first few minutes there were skirmishes in the Celtic penalty area, but these were dealt with by defenders blocking and a save by Mutch.
The midfield battle continued throughout and the second half became a little stop-start with the frequent free kicks interrupting play.
Celtic added Rachel Donaldson to the mix, replacing Crilly, in the last quarter of the match and she was able to create some space down the right with her pacy, aggressive running.
The best chances of the whole match fell to Celtic in the dying minutes. A Ewens corner was met by Choe Craig, but her powerful header was saved by Ramsay on the goal line. Then, in time added-on, a rasping shot from Donaldson from 25 yards pinged the top of the bar and flew over.
Looking back on his first game in charge, Celtic’s head coach, Eddie Wolecki Black said: “I believe the fact that it finished 0-0 showed us areas of progress as well as areas that require improvement.
“We have worked defensively for the major part of the past two weeks, so to get a clean sheet is very rewarding. However, drawing a blank at the other end of the pitch shows we have plenty to work on.
“We sent on an attacking midfielder in Clare Adams for defensive infielder Rachael O’Neill to try and win the game, whereas Rangers took off a winger and replaced her with a midfielder which I think was done to keep what they had.
“The game was very scrappy but I’m certain we will improve over the coming weeks.”
Celtic: Mutch, Keenan, Crosbie, Craig, Cavanagh, Crilly (Donaldson), Clark, O’Neill (Adams), Giard,
McGovern, Ewens. Subs not used: Knox, Connor.
SWPL: Celtic 0:0 Rangers
Rangers played out a goalless draw in the final Old Firm Derby of the SWPL season on Sunday at K-Park.
Report & Image: Rangers FC
Each side had one win each going into the third derby game and the teams could not be separated in what was a very tight and hard fought affair.
Rangers started the game well and settled the quickest. A neat one-two move between Carla Boyce and Gill Inglis allowed Inglis to play a cross into the box for the onrushing Jade Gallon. Just when it looked like Gallon was poised to burst the net the ball was poked away from her by the scrambling Celtic defence.
The hosts would eventually settle and enjoy the majority of possession in the first half. The closest Celtic came to scoring was a shot come cross by Collette Cavanagh. The ball looked destined for the top corner but was expertly turned round the post by Khym Ramsay.
Gallon had Rangers’ best chance just before the break. Played through clear on goal, Gallon lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper’s head, but it just would not drop quick enough and went narrowly over the bar.
Rangers started the second half brightly again and Chantelle Brown was trying to force the issue. The speedy forward was having a lot of joy running at the Celtic defence, but Brown’sshooting was uncharacteristically off and she failed to really work the ‘keeper.
Celtic came close to winning the game late on with two big chances. A corner came through a mass of bodies before being headed towards goal, Ramsay had to be alert to pull off an acrobatic save. The last real chance of the match came on the 90th minute when Celtic hit the bar after a shot from the edge of the box.
It was a hard thought point for Amy McDonald’s side. It ended a run of three straight defeats but there was a tinge of disappointment in the team that they couldn’t come away with all three points against their bitter rivals.
Next up for Rangers is a tough fixture against league leaders Glasgow City. Rangers will make the short trip to Petershill Park on the 23rd September with kick off scheduled for 2:10pm.