Glasgow City 2
Battling performance from Celtic Women against Glasgow City
Image: Celtic FC
Celtic began the second half of their summer season with a very challenging fixture and seven changes in personnel from their regular line-up.
With players suspended and others leaving the club, interim coach Edward Gallagher did very well to put together a team which remained resolute and committed throughout, but had to settle for a 2-0 defeat.
It was 16-year-old Kathleen McGovern, a prolific goalscorer throughout her time in the Girls’ Academy, who led the line in her first start for the first team, while 17-year-old Emily Mutch, recently signed from Aberdeen, made her debut in goal.
As may have been expected, Glasgow City immediately took the game to Celtic, passing the ball confidently and finding space. It was immediately clear, though, that they were facing a Hoops team full of determination.
The hard-working midfield of Kelly Clark, Claire Adams and Rachel Donaldson were closing down their opponents quickly and trying to get the ball forward to McGovern and Sarah Ewens.
It was proving difficult for them to contain City, and after only three minutes they had the first of many narrow escapes when a dangerous free-kick was just missed by the onrushing forwards.
McGovern was catching the eye for Celtic as she battled hard to gather long forward passes from the Celtic midfield and defence, but she was well-policed by the City centre-backs. Further chances fell to Glasgow City before Donaldson produced Celtic’s first shot at goal after 15 minutes, but she failed to find the target.
Fortune favoured the Hoops only a minute later when a powerful shot from City’s right crashed off the far post, with keeper Mutch only able to watch. City’s attacking was relentless and Emily Mutch was by far the busiest on the field as she was called upon time and again to stop shots and gather loose balls.
After 22 minutes, City gained a free-kick on their left, and the high, swinging delivery was headed firmly into the goal by Ivanusa. This was soon followed by a second when Grant evaded the diving Mutch to roll the ball into the net from a tight angle.
For Celtic, Sarah Ewens was becoming prominent with her willingness to battle for possession and make powerful forward runs, but it was difficult for her as she lacked support from the midfield who were constantly occupied by their opponents.
It was clear that City were anxious to add to their tally, as they lie second to Hibernian by only by a goal difference of one. Celtic, however, fought bravely, with central defenders Chloe Craig and Claire Crosbie playing on the edge of the penalty area and making it difficult for City to penetrate. Shots flew in from all angles but, by and large, did not cause the Hoops keeper any great trouble.
That changed shortly before the break when the young keeper had to make an outstanding save from Kerr, so that half-time arrived with the score still 2-0.
There was no change to the pattern of play throughout the second period as City continued to attack and Mutch continued to impress with her confident handling as she was called into action time after time, but City dropped the pace and Celtic became more prominent in attack as the game drew to a close.
Young goalkeeper, Mutch will certainly remember her Hoops debut when she was called into action well over 20 times to keep her opponents at bay – certainly a Player of the Match performance.
Coach, Edward Gallagher said: “We worked hard and, considering the players who were missing, it was a good performance and Emily Mutch was fantastic in goal. Kathleen McGovern got her first full 90 minutes and there was a cameo debut for Paige McAllister who is a very promising Academy player.”
CELTIC: Mutch, Keenan, Crosbie (McAllister), Craig (O’Neill), Dalgliesh (Connor), Clark, Knox (Giard), Adams, Donaldson, Ewens (Cairney), McGovern.