Scottish Women's Premier League

#SBSSWPL 2018 Preview – 19/08/18

August 17th 2018

Scottish Building Society SWPL 1

Spartans v Hibernian
Ainslie Park, Edinburgh – 1.00pm KO

It’s bottom hosting top for an Edinburgh Derby at Ainslie Park, the usual home for both teams.

Spartans come into this match having one SBSSWPL match under their belt, a 0-0 draw against Hamilton on Sunday 5th August. Three points in that match would have been a huge boost for their survival hopes but avoiding defeat was equally as positive. That result keeps them one point away from safety with two big games at home against Hamilton and Stirling on the horizon. While it will be seen as unlikely the home side will pick up anything in this match, there’s nothing to lose.

Hibernian remain top of the table, climbing above Glasgow City at the end of July. The two teams are level on points, separated by one goal on goal difference. Both sides know they’ll most likely need to win every remaining game for the rest of the season to win the league. The pressure is effectively on Hibs to deliver three points in these matches.

Hibs will remain top as long as they better Glasgow City’s result. Spartans will need at least a draw to try and climb out of the relegation spot but a loss will keep them bottom.

Celtic v Hamilton Academical
K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride – 2.00pm KO

Celtic are out of the title race, 15 points behind the top two with seven games remaining. However, they will be conscious of securing third place (currently just two points above fourth) and aiming to impress incoming Head Coach, Eddie Wolecki Black. They also know they could potentially play a big part in who will lift the SBSSWPL 1 title as they still have to face Hibs and Glasgow City in the final third of the season.

Hamilton’s focus will be purely on making sure they avoid relegation. Their fate is in their own hands after their 0-0 draw with Spartans a fortnight ago kept them a point above bottom, but they know they’ve got some potentially tricky ties on the horizon. They’ve been in these situations before, so they’ll hope they can call upon their experience to give them an extra edge.

Neither side can climb up the table, but a win for either side would help guarantee their lead over teams below them. For Celtic, a draw will be enough to keep them third but a loss could allow Forfar Farmington to steal third. Even if Hamilton draw, they could finish the day bottom if Spartans win. If Hamilton lose and Spartans draw, they’d also finish the day bottom.

Rangers v Stirling University
New Tinto Park, Glasgow – 2.00pm KO

Its fifth v sixth on Sunday, with both sides still very much fighting for the chance to climb up the table.

Rangers suffered a narrow defeat to Forfar Farmington a fortnight ago, a result that saw them drop back down to fifth. Before the summer break, they’d won their last three matches which had lifted them away from any relegation worries and in genuine contention to even finish third. While that defeat will have been disappointing, they’ll look to get back on track with a win against a side below them in the league.

Stirling University know that they’re not out of the relegation battle. They’re five points clear of bottom with seven games left, including games against the bottom two. If Stirling could pick up a win this Sunday, it could be potentially huge. Hamilton and Spartans are underdogs in their matches, so they could go eight points clear with six games left. If they lose, it’ll keep a slight pressure on their upcoming matches.

If Rangers win, they could climb back up to fourth on goal difference. If they draw or lose, they’ll remain fifth. If Stirling win, they’ll be three points behind Rangers but remain sixth. They also can’t drop down the league but their gap from relegation could be cut down to two points if Hamilton and Spartans both win.

Glasgow City v Forfar Farmington
Petershill Park, Glasgow – 2.10pm KO

After a dramatic late goal to secure their place in the last 32 of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, City are back to SBSSWPL action as they look to secure the 2018 title and qualification for next season.

As with Hibs, they know that they need to win every remaining game to make that a possibility. The last time this fixture took place, Glasgow City required a relatively lucky goal and for Forfar to miss a golden chance in the dying moments to secure three points. They certainly won’t be taking this match lightly, despite looking an improved side from earlier in the season.

Forfar Farmington got a confidence boosting win a fortnight ago, beating Rangers and reclaiming fourth place. With Celtic losing, it means they’re back to just two points from third. While they’ll not be favourites for this tie, there is nothing to lose and their last performance at Petershill Park will give them confidence.

If Glasgow City can better Hibs’ result and better their goal difference, they’ll finish the day top. A draw or a loss won’t see them drop down the league but it would likely lose them footing in the title race. If Forfar Farmington win, they could jump above Celtic. A draw will keep them fourth but a loss could see them drop back down to fifth if Rangers win.

Scottish Building Society SWPL 2

Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale v Hearts
Peffermill Playing Fields, Edinburgh – 1.00pm KO

Just like in SBSSWPL 1, it’s fifth against sixth in SBSSWPL 2 as well.

Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale (EUHV) come into this match in great form. They’ve lost one match in their last seven league games and in the Scottish Cup, defeated Hamilton Academical of SBSSWPL 1. Given they’re unbeaten at home in the league and six of their last seven matches are at Peffermill, it’s very possible that EUHV could finish the season second. They’ll hope to start that run this Sunday.

Given EUHV’s form, it’s Hearts that have now slipped to sixth and one place above the relegation zone. They’re seven points clear of Aberdeen, who they suffered defeat to a fortnight ago, so they’ll want to get points on the board ASAP and ensure they can’t be caught. They were in a similar position last season, so they’ll hope to draw upon that experience to ensure they’re not at risk of being relegated.

If EUHV win, they could climb up to third in the table. A draw could take them into the top four while a loss would leave them sixth. If Hearts win, they could climb up to fourth. A draw or a loss would leave them sixth.

Glasgow Girls v Aberdeen
Petershill Park, Glasgow – 4.00pm KO

Glasgow Girls returned from the summer break with an impressive 2-7 win away to Central Girls. Before that win, they were without one in four games. They’ll hope to go on a run of wins to keep their top four status and perhaps even climb higher.

Aberdeen also claimed a win on their return from the break, defeating Hearts 0-1. It was a potentially massive win as it reduced the gap from sixth to seven points with seven games remaining. They host Hearts on the final day of the season at home, so will be looking to get a couple of victories before then and potentially escape the drop.

If Glasgow Girls win, they could jump above St Johnstone to third. A draw could potentially leave them anywhere between third and fifth while a loss would at worst leave them fifth. If Aberdeen win, they can only close the gap to sixth. If they draw, they’ll guarantee finishing the day seventh and even a loss is unlikely to see Central Girls overtake them due to their superior goal difference.

St Johnstone v Central Girls FA
McDiarmid Park, Perth – 4.00pm KO

St Johnstone suffered defeat a fortnight ago but it was a strong display against the league leaders, Motherwell. While they aren’t out of the title race, they’ll be focussing on trying to finish second. They’re just three points behind FC Kilmarnock, who play Motherwell this Sunday. It’s more than possible they both could be level on points with six games left plus with plenty of tricky ties left in the season.

Central Girls are in the unfortunate position of bottom. They’re 10 points from safety and have the worst goal difference in the league. Given they need to catch seventh and sixth, it’s going to be a hard task. If they are to avoid the drop, they’ll need pick up points and fast.

If St Johnstone win, they could go second if FC Kilmarnock lose and they can swing the goal difference dramatically. If they draw or lose, it’s possible that both Glasgow Girls and EUHV could jump above them and they’d end the day fifth. If Central Girls win, they’d likely still remain eighth but they’d be level on points with Aberdeen if they also lose. A draw or a loss will definitely keep Central bottom.

FC Kilmarnock v Motherwell
Stewarton Sports Centre, Kilmarnock – 4.00pm KO

Perhaps the biggest game of the weekend, second hosts first as Motherwell look to get one step closer to the SBSSWPL 2 title.

FC Kilmarnock got a big win in their last outing, winning 3-2 against EUHV. After being 2-0 up at half-time, they were pegged back to 2-2. Unlike in the game before when St Johnstone went on to win 3-2, it was FC Kilmarnock that got the winner and a morale boosting win. The result also kept them second and the gap to Motherwell at 13 points.

Motherwell got a big win in their last outing as well, a 1-2 victory over St Johnstone. While not as emphatic as previous performances, three points keeps them on track to claim the title within the next two games. If they win in this match, they’ll be 16 points ahead with six games remaining and they’ll have the chance to win the title the following Sunday away to EUHV. Everything is possible, but it’s more than likely that they’ll claim the title in the next few games.

If FC Kilmarnock win or draw, they’ll remain second and a win would close the gap to 10 points. If they lose, it’s possible that St Johnstone will overtake them but it would require a big goal swing. If Motherwell win, they’ll increase their lead to 16 points but any other result can’t impact their league position.