Scottish Women's Premier League

#SBSSWPL 2018 Preview – 22/04/18

April 19th 2018

Scottish Building Society SWPL 1

Spartans v Stirling University
Ainslie Park, Edinburgh – 13:00 KO

It’s fifth versus sixth in Edinburgh as these two teams come into the match with contrasting results from last Sunday.

For Spartans, they grabbed an important three points away to Forfar Farmington. The result lifted them up the table and gave them some breathing room from bottom. They’ll be looking to build on that win and get points on the board, as they are the only team in the bottom half to have played a game more.

Similarly to Spartans, Stirling have had a mixed start to the season. From their four games, they’ve won one, drawn one, and lost two. Aside from their heavy loss to Rangers last Sunday, they were in good form after comfortably seeing off Hamilton and drawing with Celtic. That most recent result though will knock their confidence as they look to finish fourth for the third season in a row.

Depending on results, a win for either side could lift them up for fourth. A draw or a loss for either side could leave them second from bottom but neither side can finish the day in the bottom spot.

Celtic v Hibernian
K Park Training Academy, East Kilbride – 14:00 KO

Top of the table, Celtic, host third placed, Hibernian, as the chance to finish top at the end of the day awaits for both teams.

Celtic are the current leaders after playing five games, winning three and drawing two. Even more impressive is the fact they’ve kept four clean sheets and only conceded once in 2018. However, this will be considered by many as their first big test of the new season. Even as the third best in Scotland for the last two season, they’ve found themselves far behind Hibernian and Glasgow City come the end of the season. Can this be the year that this changes?

Hibernian fought back in the dying moments to seal a last gasp draw against Glasgow City last Sunday. Abi Harrison’s goal brought jubilant scenes to Ainslie Park and it was a huge result, even so early in the season. It means they remain unbeaten after four games, despite less convincing results than previous years. This will be another tough test for the Edinburgh side but they’ll aim to draw upon their good form against their opponents.

Both teams could end up top of the table. If Celtic win, they are guaranteed top while a draw would mean they’d be relying on other results. If Hibs win, they could still be behind Glasgow City on goal difference. No matter the result, neither side can drop below third place.

Glasgow City FC v Forfar Farmington
Petershill Park, Glasgow – 14:10 KO

It’s second from top hosting second from bottom as Forfar make the trip to face 11-in-a-row league Champions, Glasgow City.

City will be disappointed with the result against Hibs, losing maximum points in the dying moments of the game to a speculative effort. However, they remain unbeaten and have the highest goal difference in the league. Any disappointment will be put to the side as they look to try and achieve a famous 12 titles in a row.

They know they’ll be underdogs in this match but Forfar will certainly not just be making up the numbers. In tough matches against Hibs and Celtic, they only lost 2-0. They can also draw hope from Hamilton’s narrow 1-0 defeat here back in February to try and take some points away from the Champions.

Glasgow City could find themselves top of the table with a win. If they draw or lose, they won’t be able to go top but they won’t drop below third. As for Forfar Farmington, a win could see them jump to fourth but this is unlikely given their goal difference. They’ll most likely aim for a draw which would bring them closer to the teams above them.

Hamilton Academical v Rangers
New Douglas Park, Hamilton – 13:00 KO

Bottom of the table, Hamilton, host fourth placed Rangers in a big game for both teams.

For Hamilton, three points would be massive in their bid to avoid relegation. Right now, they sit on no points from four games while everyone else has at least one win. Given how competitive the league has been, one win could make a huge difference. They’ll need to draw on their impressive performances away to Glasgow City and last Sunday at home to Celtic, whilst also adding goals to their game.

At Rangers, a win could see them close the gap on the top three. Since their opening day loss to Celtic, they’ve looked like a side that could really push on this season. In her first full season, Amy McDonald has got her young team playing well and they’ve won two and lost two. Even their most recent loss, 2-1 to Hibernian in March, was a touch unfortunate as they pushed the title chasers all the way.

A win for Hamilton could see them off bottom if Fofar were to lose. A draw or loss would mean they remain bottom. If Rangers win, they will cut the gap down on the teams above them. Even a draw or a loss would likely only leave them fifth due to the other fixtures.

Scottish Building Society SWPL 2

Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale v FC Kilmarnock
Peffermill Playeing Fields, Edinburgh – 12:05 KO

Two teams, who find themselves in very different leagues positions, meet as they both find themselves looking up the table and over their shoulders at the same time.

Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale continued their 2018 theme of loving goals, for good and bad. Last Sunday they were 4-0 down away to Aberdeen at just half-time. Thankfully for them, no more goals were scored, as they remain the team with the second highest goals conceded. They’ll be looking to draw upon their home form which saw them win 5-1 over Glasgow Girls back in March and draw 1-1 with Hearts on the opening day.

For FC Kilmarnock, they lost their first match of the season away to St Johnstone last Sunday. Manager, Stewart Hall, was disappointed by their performance and will be looking for a response from his players. It’ll be no easy match though with a long journey to Edinburgh before taking on EUHV, who despite their mixed form, have performed better at home.

A win for FC Kilmarnock could see them jump up to top of the table, especially given Motherwell and St Johnstone play each other. A draw wouldn’t help them rise in the table and could see them drop down. For EUHV, a win would most likely only help them up to fifth and a loss could see them bottom at the end of the day.

Hearts v Aberdeen
Kings Park, Dalkeith – 14:00 KO

It’s fourth versus fifth in this game with only one point separating the two.

For Hearts, they saw off Central Girls FA, 4-3, in what was one of the most entertaining games of last Sunday. It means they’ve only lost once this season and sit on seven points from four games. It’s the sort of form that made them title challengers in 2016, so they’ll be hoping to keep this going. They’ve also won both games at home, making them a difficult opponent to visit.

Standing in their way of another win is Aberdeen. After relegation last season, they would have been hoping to bounce straight back. However, two wins and two loses mean they find themselves in the bottom half of the table. They comfortably defeated EUHV last Sunday, 4-0 at home, so they’ll be hoping to build on this result.

A win for Hearts could potentially draw them level on points at the top of the table, but would rely on Motherwell and St Johnstone drawing and FC Kilmarnock drawing or losing. While the same can’t be said for Aberdeen, it would bring them very close to top of the table. On the other hand, depending on results, both sides could find themselves back in a relegation battle.

Motherwell v St Johnstone
Braidhurst High School, Motherwell – 14:30 KO

For the second week in a row, St Johnstone are involved in perhaps the biggest game in the Scottish Building Society SWPL 2. They also, for the second week running, play the team who are top of the table.

Motherwell jumped top after an impressive turnaround, defeating Glasgow Girls, 6-2. It has been an impressive season for them so far, winning their last three games by a margin of at least two goals. If it wasn’t for their opening day win being overturned, they’d also have a 100% record. Their focus will purely be on winning the league and securing promotion to the top division.

For St Johnstone manager, Jason McCrindle, consistency is key. Talk of titles were pushed to the side, even though they are joint top, for picking up as many points as possible. That perhaps stems from the fact that they’ve won three and lost two of their matches, both loses coming to teams lower in the league. They could certainly challenge for the title, especially if they can manage to pick up points in big games like this Sunday.

A win will put either side above the other, and, potentially, top of the league. Given their superior goal difference, a win for Motherwell would almost guarantee top. If it ends a draw, then FC Kilmarnock could jump back to top. A loss for either side could see them drop down the table, depending on results.

Glasgow Girls FC v Central Girls FA
Petershill Park, Glasgow – 16:00 KO

The final Scottish Building Society SWPL 2 match of the weekend is between the two sides that currently occupy the relegation places.

Glasgow Girls FC, who have been title challengers since the new league set-up, have continued to have a difficult start to 2018. Hoping to build on their only win of the season back on the 1st of April, they were 2-0 up against Motherwell. However, they eventually lost 6-2 and remain bottom of the table. Given how competitive the league is, there is plenty of time yet, but they’ll be hoping for an important victory this Sunday.

For Central Girls FA, they’ve had a bright start to life in their new division but still find themselves in the bottom two. They’ve not been comprehensively beaten in any game, always running their opponent close. However, good performances and narrow defeats don’t earn points, something they’ll be looking to rectify against the only team below them.

If either team wins, it’ll be an important victory. It could also find the winner up to fifth in the league. A draw will possibly close the gap for both teams but you could label this an early season ‘six-pointer’.