Disappointment as Hoops lose out against Hibernian
Celtic made the ideal start to their clash with Hibernian, with a Natalie Ross goal in seven minutes. However, they were unable to capitalise on this early lead, and despite of a spirited, battling performance went down 2-1 to Hibernian.
After last weekend’s comfortable 4-0 win against Forfar Farmington, manager Eddie Wolecki Black made only one change to the line-up, with Cheryl McCulloch introduced to partner Chloe Craig at centre-back.
With only seven minutes played, Sarah Ewens chased a long pass towards the Hibs goal-line, although it looked to be running out of play. With a burst of speed, the striker kept the ball in play and with the same touch steered it past the chasing Hibs defender. A pinpoint pass across goal found Natalie Ross, who slotted home with her left foot from eight yards.
The first 30 minutes was a feisty affair and Celtic were finding it difficult to get a foothold in the game, far less increase their lead. Hibs were playing at pace, especially down the wings and they forced a save from Megan Cunningham and gained two corners before midfielder Kirsty McLaughlin burst through for the Hoops in 27 minutes, but her shot was comfortably saved by Jemma Fife.
The game was regularly punctuated with fouls and it was from a Cavanagh free-kick from the left in 37 minutes that Hibs scored the equaliser. Her cross was floated towards the near post and headed across for Reilly to score.
Hibs continued to have the greater share of the ball and had another dangerous free kick three minutes later which drifted wide of Cunningham’s right-hand post.
A minute from half-time, yet another free kick was awarded just outside the Celtic penalty area, which Reilly fired high into the net, giving the home side the lead.
It was immediately clear from the restart that Celtic were determined to recover as quickly as possible, playing as they were with increased determination and tempo. Hibs, though, kept their composure, winning an early corner and having a fierce shot on target, which Cunningham saved.
Josi Giard was working hard for Celtic and appeared to have been brought down as she prepared to shoot, but no foul was awarded.
A powerful shot from Hibs in 74 minutes did appear net-bound until it was tipped over the bar with Cunningham at full stretch.
For their part, Celtic redoubled their efforts and as the game drew towards its conclusion there were several scrambles in and around the Hibs penalty area, but an equaliser proved elusive, and the game ended without further goals.
CELTIC: Cunningham, Black, Craig, McCulloch, Keenan, Giard, Clark, McLaughlin (Donaldson), Ross, Smart (McGovern), Ewens.
Subs not used: Crosbie, O’Neill, Hay, Cairney.