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#SBSSWPL 2018 Preview – 26/08/18

Scottish Building Society SWPL 1

Hibernian v Celtic
Ainslie Park, Edinburgh – 1.00pm KO

It’s a big game in Scottish Building Society SWPL 1 as second placed Hibernian host third placed Celtic.

Hibs slid back down to second on goal difference last weekend but remain level on points with Glasgow City. This Sunday though will be a big test as Hibernian effectively need to win every remaining game this season to win the league title. While Hibs have beaten their opponents in every meeting this season, including an emphatic SWPL Cup win, they were ran close in the last league encounter. It took them three goals in the last five minutes to eventually prevail 4-2.

Celtic, while they can’t challenge for the league title this season, could have a big say. This is their last match against Hibernian in the league with a game against Glasgow City still to come. A draw or a loss for either of those sides would be damaging, and Celtic are considered the most likely side to inflict this. In the last match against Hibs they came close but couldn’t hold on to their lead as they also had three players sent-off. They’ll hope to keep all 11 players on the park on Sunday and replicate their positive early start from the last meeting.

Hibernian will need to better Glasgow City’s result to go top of the table and also need to swing goal difference in their favour. A draw or a loss would likely damage their title chances. For Celtic, they can’t move in the league no matter the result. A loss though could see Forfar Farmington within just two points of them.

Forfar Farmington v Stirling University
Station Park, Forfar – 1.30pm KO

Of their six remaining fixtures, five are at home for Forfar Farmington. With that in mind, they’ll have one eye on catching up with Celtic and possibly finishing third. As the newly promoted side, this would be a remarkable achievement. Even if they finish in the top four, this would be a real statement that Forfar Farmington are here to stay in the top level of women’s football after relegation in 2016.

A side that know all about top four finishes, Stirling University, aren’t out of the running for the position just yet. After a potentially massive 3-2 win over Rangers last week, another win here would leave them just four points behind Forfar Farmington. However, given that Stirling were just five points above bottom before last week, they’ll be delighted to now be eight points clear with six games to go.

A win or a draw for Forfar Farmington will mean they remain fourth and could cut the gap on Celtic down to two points. A loss could potentially see them drop below Rangers. No matter the result, Stirling can’t move in the table but a win would cut the gap down to Forfar Farmington to four points.

Rangers v Spartans
New Tinto Park, Glasgow – 2.00pm KO

Rangers suffered a disappointing defeat last week, losing 3-2 to Stirling University. A win would have allowed them to jump up to fourth after Forfar Farmington’s defeat, but they remain fifth and the loss means they’ve lost two games in a row since returning for the summer break. After winning three games in a row before the break, it’s more inconsistency from Amy McDonald’s side which she has noted before. They’ll look to get back to winning ways against the side bottom of the table.

Spartans though will have other ideas. Since returning from the break, Debbi McCulloch has taken charge and made them difficult to beat in their battle to avoid relegation. While they’ve yet to win in the league, they drew 0-0 with Hamilton Academical and then lost 0-2 to Hibernian. The Hibs result, while not surprising, was a much more positive result than their previous 1-7 loss. Spartans, only one point behind Hamilton, will be targeting games like this against sides in the bottom four to pick up points.

If Rangers win, they could overtake Forfar Farmington if they lose. A draw or a loss will keep them fifth. If Spartans win or draw, they could potentially overtake Hamilton. A loss will keep them bottom at the end of the day.

Hamilton Academical v Glasgow City FC
The Hope CBD Stadium, Hamilton – 4:00pm KO

Hamilton Academical have another tough game in the league after last Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Celtic. However, that performance will give them positives. They were 0-1 up at the break before two own-goals gave Celtic the lead. The home side only made the win comfortable with two late Chloe Craig goals. Hamilton will be looking for a similar level of performance against the league leaders, especially to build confidence with a potentially huge match against Spartans on Sunday 9th September.

Glasgow City jumped back to top of the table with a big win at home to Forfar Farmington on Sunday, making it 25 goals from their last five games. They’ve hit a great run of form at the right time. With the league potentially coming down to goal difference, every goal could count. At the same time, Scott Booth’s side will be focussed on getting points on the board as they know that winning every game for the rest of the season will guarantee the league title.

If Hamilton Academical win, they guarantee they won’t finish the day bottom of the table and could go four points clear of Spartans. A draw or a loss could allow Spartans to overtake them. Glasgow City need to equal Hibs’ result to remain top and it will require a swing of three goals for Hibs to overtake them.

Scottish Building Society SWPL 2

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

Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale (EUHV) suffered their first home defeat of the season at hands of Hearts on Sunday. It was a slightly surprising result given EUHV’s recent form and record at home but EUHV will still have ambitions to finish in top half of the table. Five of their remaining six fixtures are at home, giving them a big advantage over teams around them. While they’ll be underdogs for this one (they’ve conceded 14 against Motherwell in the last two games), any points would be a positive.

For Motherwell, they could claim the title with a win. They’re 16 points clear with six games left, meaning they’ll be crowned champions with a win on Sunday. They’ve been an unstoppable force this season and been able ground out results when it has mattered. Their last two games for example, both won against the top three by just one goal. This is another potentially tough match but they’ll be confident of clinching the title on what will be Eddie Wolecki Black’s last match in charge of the team before joining Celtic.

If EUHV win, they could jump up to fourth, and a draw could see them climb above Glasgow Girls into fifth. If they lose, they’ll remain sixth and could be just two points above Aberdeen. If Motherwell win, they’ll be league champions. A draw or a loss could still allow Motherwell to win the title but that would rely on FC Kilmarnock and St Johnstone both failing to win.

Hearts v Glasgow Girls
Kings Park, Dalkeith – 2.00pm KO

It’s fourth against fifth as Hearts look to build upon their impressive win last Sunday. They came away 1-2 winners at EUHV, a side who were unbeaten at home. The result lifted them up the table to fourth and means they are now seven points clear of the relegation zone and just three points behind second and third.

Glasgow Girls on the other hand were on the end of a surprising result last Sunday. At home to seventh placed Aberdeen, they were defeated 3-4, despite a Lauren Evans’ hat-trick. While Aberdeen have returned from the summer break strongly, Glasgow Girls would have been the favourites as they looked to climb higher in the table.

If Hearts win, they could go second should FC Kilmarnock and St Johnstone both lose while Glasgow Girls could finish the day sixth. A loss for Hearts could mean they drop down to sixth while Glasgow Girls would jump up to fourth. If the match is a draw, both teams will drop a place if EUHV win or remain in position if EUHV draw or lose.

Aberdeen v St Johnstone
Aberdeen Sports Village – 4.00pm KO

Since returning from the summer break, Aberdeen have won both of their league matches. They’re now just five points from safety with six games left, a much improved situation. There is still work to do, but a win against a side in top three will be a huge boost for confidence and their survival chances. Given EUHV will be underdogs in their match, they could cut the gap down to just two points.

St Johnstone though certainly won’t be taking this match lightly and have ambitions of their own. The club are on course for their highest ever finish in the league, battling for second with six games remaining. The league is very likely out with their reach but their performance against Motherwell would give them great confidence for the rest of the season and for their chances in 2019.

If Aberdeen win, they could close the gap to safety to just two points. If they draw or lose, they’ll remain seventh. If St Johnstone win or draw, they would be guaranteed to remain in the top three and could jump second if they better FC Kilmarnock’s result. If they lose, Hearts could potentially jump above them.

Central Girls FA v FC Kilmarnock
Indodrill Stadium, Alloa – 4.00pm KO

It has been a tough time for Central Girls recently. They’ve lost a large number of players and since the season restart, they’ve conceded 25 goals in three games. As has been said all season, they’re a young side that play some fantastic football. However, results haven’t gone their way and they’re now 11 points from safety with six games to go. With Aberdeen’s resurgence, it’s going to be very difficult for Central to overtake two teams.

The other side promoted to SBSSWPL 2 this year, FC Kilmarnock, have flourished in the division and are battling to finish second. The faced Motherwell last Sunday, narrowly losing 2-3. Similar to St Johnstone, the title is very likely out of their reach, but they can take positives from that recent performance for the rest of the season. They’ll also see 2019 as a great opportunity for promotion.

No matter the result, Central Girls can’t climb up the table but they could reduce the gap to seventh to just three points. FC Kilmarnock will remain second in the table as long as they can better St Johnstone’s result. If they do lose, they could potentially fall down to fourth in the table.

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Scottish Building Society SWPL
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